Alabama’s Defense: Is it Smart?

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Alabama’s Defense: Is it Smart?

UGA football – Kirby Smart
Olandis Gary (22), Champ Bailey (4), Chris Terry (70) and Kirby Smart (16) Sept. 19, 1998 (Photo by Erin McCall)


Alabama’s defense has been among the best in college football since Nick Saban became head coach. The knock on Kirby Smart has always been that he was merely a caretaker, a worker tending the machine that Saban built. If that is true, he has done one heck of a job keep tuning a well-oiled machine.


There is no easy answer to the question. Is the mentee always an inferior version of the mentor? At Georgia we have an excellent example of a mentor/mentee relationship in recent history. Was Georgia’s very successful offense the result of Mark Richt’s philosophy or Mike Bobo’s hands on coaching and play calling? Again the answer is not clear. However, in 2015 we witnessed the painful disintegration of Richt’s high-powered offense when it was entrusted to a coach not steeped in its intricacies. At the same time, Mike Bobo had a successful first year in his new position at Colorado State.


Kirby Smart was the hands-on, in-the-trenches, prepare-the-troops-for-battle guy at Alabama since 2007 after moving from the Miami Dolphins with Saban after the 2006 season. While we must give Nick Saban credit for his system, it is not unreasonable to think that it has been Kirby Smart at the controls for many successful years and there is no reason to believe that he will forget lesson learn at Alabama upon his return to Athens.


Smart’s coaching resume at Bama can be read HERE.


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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.