Kirby Smart coaching Alabama through Playoff a concern?


Kirby Smart, the man Dawg Nation expects to become the next UGA head coach, plans to coach Alabama through the playoff. Is this potentially concerning?

Seeing Mark Richt flash the signature U hand gesture down in his press conference on Friday in Coral Gables truly signals the end of the Mark Richt Era in Georgia Bulldogs football. While nothing has been official, Mark Richt’s replacement as the head coach in Athens is reportedly Alabama Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

Smart, who played in the defensive backfield in the Jim Donnan Era of UGA football, is according to Radi Nabulsi of likely on his way for a meeting in Athens Sunday after the Tide beat the Florida Gators in the 2015 SEC Championship Game.

This isn’t surprising as many speculated that Kirby Smart would become the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs by either Sunday or Monday, However, since Alabama is certainly bound for the 2nd Annual College Football Playoff, along with Clemson, Michigan State, and Oklahoma if I had to guess, Smart will likely stay with Alabama through their playoff run as defensive coordinator even after accepting the Georgia gig. He told his players this in the week leading up to the SEC Championship, per

Is Smart staying with Alabama somewhat concerning for Dawg Nation or should we just roll with it, pun intended, until the holiday season? To me, having Smart coach in the College Football Playoff may actually be a good thing for recruiting. He’ll certainly recruit for UGA from the moment he accepts until the upcoming Dead Period. However, having him on the sidelines in possibly two of the three biggest games in the 2015 college football season helps spread the word that he’s leaving the Alabama program.

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We saw something similar last year when Ohio State’s offensive coordinator Tom Herman had committed himself to becoming the next coach of the Houston Cougars, famously wearing a U of H hat in the aftermath of Ohio State’ National Championship in 2014. I’m not overly concerned about having Kirby Smart coaching in the Playoff as opposed to leave for Georgia and never go back to Tuscaloosa.

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What I have concerns about is how this could impact how Kirby Smart assembles his staff. While he’s all in at Georgia, he still has obligations to see Alabama’s Playoff run through. Morally, that’s justifiable to not leave Alabama out to dry in the middle of the Playoff. It seems like this is becoming the precedent in the College Football Playoff Era with Herman and Smart fulfilling their duties with their former employer.

That being said, while Kirby Smart continues to coach at Alabama, other top position coaches and coordinators are going elsewhere left and right. It looks like Auburn defensive coordinator won’t rejoin Smart in Athens, but will replace Steve Spurrier in Columbia. Since Jeremy Pruitt is likely not to return to Georgia, is outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer the next defensive coordinator?

None of this includes the sheer uncertainty about who becomes the offensive staff. Is Bryan McClendon promoted to offensive coordinator or is Alabama wide receivers coach Billy Napier following Kirby Smart to Athens? Regardless, UGA needs to figure out its coaching staff quickly before it loses members of its currently Top 10 recruiting class. The sooner we start to see how the new coaching staff comes together, the better I will feel about Kirby Smart rolling with the Tide through the holiday season.

Next: Faton Bauta is transferring from Georgia Bulldogs

Smart has reportedly signed as the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs and a press conference will follow in the next few hours, according to the AJC’s Seth Emerson. Go Dawgs!