The following is a guest post by aspiring sports journalist Zach Ramsey
Winston Churchill said it best, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Call me a pessimist. Dawg fans everywhere have their own opinion of Todd Grantham’s tenure at the University of Georgia, but one thing cannot be debated; he is now officially gone. Grantham’s exodus from Athens leaves a gaping hole at Defensive Coordinator with National Signing Day looming. Candidates have emerged, but none with more ardent support from Dawg Nation than the former UGA letterman, and current Saban disciple, Kirby Smart. Chants of “Come Home Kirby” have echoed all throughout the Twittersphere allowing UGA fans to proceed with cautious optimism that has been foreign to them since Mettenberger overthrew Odell Beckham Jr. on 4th and 10. Is this cautious optimism a “Smart” thing? Allow me to present a metaphorical, hypothetical situation where Kirby Smart coming to Athens is not a “Smart move”.
Growing up in the South, most of us were escorted to Sunday School where we heard bible stories. Reminisce on those nostalgic memories for a moment and give me the pleasure of reminding you of one of the more heartwarming parables we all heard at one point or another “The Prodigal Son”. “The Prodigal Son” could be more relevant to Georgia fans than most realize if a few dominoes were to fall into place. Here is “The Prodigal Son” in a new light more applicable to our current situation:
A wealthy man with many resources lived in Athens and had two sons. One son has always stayed with his family. He never left home and he worked the land every day, and is with the family constantly. This son has battled for the family and been through the mountain tops of victories over rival clans from Gainesville, Baton Rouge, and Knoxville. The father could always depend on this son. He may not have always gotten everything right, but he never turned his back on the family. We will call this son, Mike.
But, the father had another son. This son grew up in the family and learned from his family members. He worked his father’s land for a little while but soon sought greener pastures. This son approached his father and told him he sought his inheritance immediately. The father was gracious and gave it to him; he wanted to see his son succeed even if it meant leaving the family. We will call this son, Kirby.
Kirby left the family farm to blaze his own trail and see what the world had to offer him. Kirby left Athens and his family as a bright eyed dreamer who was determined to achieve everything he knew he could. He learned a lot from his father and other family members and knew he could apply that knowledge to help him get ahead. Kirby struggled to get to the top and eventually he had made a name for himself. Kirby left the family and forgot his roots; his gracious family soon became a distant memory.
All the while the other son, Mike, was toiling away and doing whatever he could to help the family succeed. Mike did his job with few complaints but his work always seemed to go unnoticed. He woke up every morning and did the chores that were required of him. Complaints came more often than praise but Mike continued to battle for his family who he loved dearly.
Meanwhile, Kirby was living the high life with no regard for his family’s well-being. Kirby’s partnered with an tyrant who lived in a neighboring village. We will call this tyrant, Nick.
Kirby was an integral part of the clan’s success in Tuscaloosa but he was never given significant recognition. He was always promised “his day would come” but as Kirby waited for his day he saw other clan members “replaced” by Nick if they didn’t do their job effectively. Kirby became frightened and his thoughts wondered as to what could happen to him if he did not meet the evil tyrant Nick’s lofty standards.
Then, out of nowhere, Kirby got a call one day from his father; he wanted him to come home. As Kirby got closer, he saw that there were thousands of people at the family farm. His father had thrown a party to celebrate Kirby’s return. Any one that had any ties to the family had come out to greet Kirby as he was welcomed home. With Kirby being home, most members of the family did not notice Mike.
Mike was not able to dress up for the celebration because he had been out doing chores for the family all day. Mike was happy to see Kirby home; he had spent years with Kirby by his side. Mike had toiled for years on his family’s farm with little to no recognition or praise while Kirby had turned his back on the family yet was still having a party thrown to celebrate his homecoming. It didn’t add up for Mike. Shortly after the celebration was over, Mike left.
Don’t get me wrong, I want Kirby Smart “to come home” and be the defensive coordinator at UGA. He would be a great fit and, in my opinion, do an amazing job. He would boost recruiting and could very well give the Dawgs exactly what has cost them hardware in the past.
Mike Bobo has done a more than admirable job. He has developed the talents of players like Murray and Stafford and has fielded some of the most potent offenses in the country. So I propose the question, if Kirby the prodigal son was to return, I am sure we would have to give him a welcome home celebration and millions of dollars. If UGA were to do this, how does Mike, the other son react? Will he be gracious and accept his brother with open arms, or does he feel spurned by the family who has been so unappreciative in the past?
Zach, this is an amazingly accurate analogy of Coach Bobo and the possible hire of Coach Smart. Hopefully, this article will reach the GA AD's office and they will come to their senses and do the right thing by the "faithful son". Zach, you have a very bright future ahead of you, keep writing.
I believe deep inside that ultimately CMR who is familiar with this story would not let " Mike" be done like this. Zack you have a talent and hope you will do some more. The one concession he was unwilling to make.
Great article Zach. You have a real talent for the written word. Are you by chance a student at the greatest School of Journalism in the world, Henry W. Grady School of Journalism?
Looks like this hypothetical situation can be forgotten. Welcome Jeremy Pruitt! Those who have read and commented thank you, I appreciate your feedback! It's a great day to be a Georgia Bulldog!
CMBobo has proved himself through thick and thin, Never has he wavered. Although we have questioned him many many times. As my eyes have been opened by other brethren on LHB/BI it is quite obvious that most of My/Our concerns about CMB were directly related to the O Lines ability to perform. Once he had even a decent O Line his Offenses have improved drastically. Our main hope is that he is given the abilities and freedom to continue to improve in this area (RECRUITING).
As far as Kirby and CMB - In MY Humble Opinion CMB needs to be given both the Title's (other than DC) that CTG had as well as a Major jump in pay. Wish I had time to write more but my new boss is looking over my shoulder.....
Long time reader...1st time poster. Not sure if this is your 1st article Zach, but a great article non-the-less. It really made me stop and think how big Kirby's price tag should be. Articles like these are why I love BI. Hope to see more of your work soon!
I hope you all have enjoyed the article! I would love to see Kirby come back home, I just feel as though Richt should be careful in how he goes about getting Kirby to come home. It's a slippery slope and a dynamic situation for sure.
There seems to be what is almost a consensus opinion that Kirby Smart is the best possible DC Georgia could hire. Count me among the exceptions. I've never, at any time, thought that.
Maybe he would be. But we'll never know, because it's not going to happen.
Mike has his reasons for staying at Georgia. Family is probably a biggie. However, I agree that should not be used to pay him less. Terrible message to send not just to him but to any potential future coaches - your loyalty to this school will cost you. By the way this happens in every line of work but in this football business where salaries are public you are really asking to be left.
For lots of reasons Kirby will not be our DC. However, Bobo needs to be paid a competitive salary regardless.
Depends on who/what he loves more - his brother/family or himself. See the brothers response in the parable below (one possible Bobo response) and read the fathers wise advise that might lead to the other possible Bobo response(espcially the part about 'all I have is yours')
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
If Grantham was being paid $800K+ a year for producing an impotent defense, then shouldn't Bobo be paid at least somewhere in the $800K range for producing one of the most prolific offense's in CFB?
Yeah, just don't have much time to work with him right now.
I could not be any more appreciative of those sentiments! I know Coach Bobo has not always gotten everything right but he has had many opportunities to jump ship but he has stayed committed to the G! Thank you for your comments!
Bleu, coming from you that means a ton! I actually wondered if CMR, thought of this parable when considering hiring Kirby! Thank you for your feedback!
Those are very kind words and they are very appreciated. I ecstatic that you enjoyed the article! I am transferring to UGA in the Fall and will be entering Grady either then or in the Spring depending on which classes transfer.
I totally agree. I've yelled at the TV more often than most seeing Carlton Thomas run up the middle on 3rd and 9 but it is what it is. The son "Mike" has always been loyal even when we weren't to him. If Kirby is hired (which I don't think he will be) Mike's salary should be very comparable to his. Mike shouldn't be punished for his loyalty. The O hasn't been our problem the last 4-5 years...
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@IveyLeaguer I have serious doubt about him coming to UGA as well. I'm betting he leverages this for another raise at Alabama.
@South FL Dawg Yep, then recruiters tell you that if your company counters, don't take it because you will be branded disloyal and will be treated different. Baloney, take the pay increase if you like your job and stay put. If you don't like the people you work with and don't like your job, move on.
With the exception of that really weird flirtation with the NFL that Grantham had (admit it, that was when most Dawgs started questioning him) most people don't hold it against you for looking to improve your situation. If they do, they are not worthy of your concern and hopefully have no power over you.
Ok, there are work bullies. I had a couple of managers who were notorious, but they are the bad exception.
@Sargent Shultz Honestly, it is hard for me to relate. For Bobo's UGA OC job, I would probably take 1/4th of his pay with a life time contract to with no raises.
It is a great job and the pay is crazy when you look at what us everyday slugs are getting.
@David Van Ausdall While I agree that Bobo deserves a raise, it has to be taken into account that DCs make more than OCs for some reason. I agree that Bobo should be in the $1M range. But that is a totally separate question than whether to hire Smart.
@David Van Ausdall Bobo should make no less than Chad Morris. And Kirby, if he comes, should be paid the same. Time for the pocket books and wallet to be opened up. Just like us boosters have been doing for decades.
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