Monday, January 11, 2010

The lateral move and difficult decisions

Kirby won't be the next DC at UGA.  It sounds like a lot of fans were really counting on this, and are beyond pissed.  I'm not one of them, because of what I posted last week:  despite what many UGA loyalists think, there was no way Kirby Smart was going to be better off short- or long-term in Athens than in Tuscaloosa.  And for everyone that doesn't believe his moving to be UGA's DC was a step down, get over yourselves.  UGA is currently a second-tier program (we hope) in the SEC.  Not that it's a bad thing, because Alabama was, also, a couple of years ago.  And that's all subject to change from season to season.
Being something of an expert on "lateral moves" I can say that tons of factors go into making these decisions, not the least of which is consideration of the upside of each place.  As long as Smart and his wife are happy in Tuscaloosa, the only thing that could have brought him to Athens was a coach-in-waiting position, and I bet that despite the money he may have been offered (which was way too much in my opinion based on what is being reported, but was supposedly matched), that wasn't on the table.  Again, another important clue as to what Richt's plan is for the program and his career.  Of course, it's all speculation because he refuses to talk about it.  Considering the upside in Tuscaloosa (didn't they win the other night?) and Smart's apparent goals to be a head coach somewhere, the only thing that Alabama didn't have was that it wasn't Athens.  Otherwise, it has everything else going for it.  The were few to no net benefits to moving to UGA.
What worries me now, as a fan, is that we appear to have been waiting and expecting this deal to go through, and apparently had some level of commitment from Smart that he would go through with it. 
What if 'Bama had lost the national championship game?  Would things have been different?  What if the freakish hadn't happened, and Colt McCoy didn't wind up with a case of the "dead arm," Texas didn't commit 5 turnovers, and was able to embarrass the 'Bama defense?  Maybe verbally committing to UGA was a "smart" insurance policy.
Regardless of whether Smart is really responsible for the defense or not, it brings up an interesting and sobering realization that perception is everything.  Even if he's eating M&Ms in the bleachers during practice while Saban is literally doing all the hands on coaching, the longer the program is successful and the longer he sticks with it, the greater will be the perception that he can reproduce it wherever he goes.  And that he can parlay into a head coaching job.  Because his success is more guaranteed at Alabama than in Athens.  I'm sure Saban reminded him of that this weekend.

What's next?  I still think it's going to be at least one person from the NFL, and it's going to cost us.  If we don't know something by next week, I think we're going to have a serious problem on our hands in the way of fan mutiny and recruiting class.  Which means that the cut-off on the Hartmann fund will be significantly lower! See, the glass is half-full.

Seriously, the world hasn't ended because we couldn't get Kirby Smart.  Jobs like these are all about timing.  We've had some timing issues with the people we've approached, although I really think that we'll all soon realize that Smart wasn't the "right man" for the job.

No comments: