Alabama Football: What Kirby has done for Georgia is impressive

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Alabama football fans have historically had love-hate relationships with former coaches who moved to other schools. Kirby Smart is or will be no exception.

Let’s be clear, what former Alabama football defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart has done in two Georgia seasons is impressive. Any projected timetable for taking the Bulldogs to national prominence has been exceeded by Kirby. Alabama football fans are certainly not jealous of Kirby’s and Georgia’s success. There is no reason to be.

All that could change Monday night. Take away a historic national championship from Alabama football and Kirby will never be forgiven. Perhaps Nick will bear Kirby no ill will but the rest of us will not be so charitable. Those who are interested in Alabama football history will probably remember Brother Oliver.

A little Crimson Tide History

Bill ‘Brother’ Oliver was the defensive architect of the Crimson Tide dismantling of Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl. Bill had designs on becoming the Tide head coach. When that did not pan out, he left Tuscaloosa for Auburn. (Let this be a cautionary tale for you, Jeremy Pruitt) Although Oliver played a role in boosting the coaching careers of Will Muschamp and Dabo Swinney, he is more known by Alabama fans as a turncoat.

For the record, this Alabama football fan is not planning on hating Kirby anytime soon. But, just in case, we will honor him now. For 15 seasons, Georgia football was led by one of college football’s finest men, Mark Richt. Richt’s Bulldog teams won six division titles and two SEC championships.

Mark Richt never seemed to win the big game

For Georgia faithful, it wasn’t and should not have been enough. Enter Kirby, the former Bulldog defensive back. As we referenced above, the Georgia rise under Kirby has been rapid. Kirby returned to Athens emphasizing the need for a change in the culture of Georgia football. Speaking of the team he inherited as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

"the players … may not see it as there was a problem. They may see it as they were completely happy with winning nine, 10 games a year. That’s what I call complacency. Probably the greatest challenge was not accepting what had been done before as the norm and convincing the players that are currently on the team that we can do better."

Winning an SEC Championship and a Rose Bowl AND playing for a national championship is doing better. Kirby has learned and zealously applied the vaunted Nick Saban ‘Process.’ Minus the moderating effect of humility perhaps. In fairness, the view of the horizon is not clear until reaching the mountaintop. Kirby is still charging up the mountainside.

On Monday night, former Alabama football coaches Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker will not outcoach Nick Saban. Their Bulldog players may out-perform the Tide. If that happens and Georgia wins, we Alabama football fans may temper a new hatred for Kirby a bit. If, and we know it is a big IF – someone formally tells Nick Saban – Thank you!

Next: Too much Bo is a 'No-Go' for the Tide

A Georgia Bulldog fan stumbling upon this story may see it as another example of Alabama football fan arrogance. So be it. We offer no apology.