Alabama Football: Kirby Smart’s persistent internal distraction

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

It must be hard for Kirby Smart to sleep. Inside his head, there has must be an ever-ticking clock winding down to the end of his Georgia head coaching career. That is if he can’t build a team better than Alabama Football.

In contrast, when he started at Georgia in 2016, Kirby must have felt like he could not lose. He had the complete Nick Saban, Alabama Football Process to guide him. His first head coaching gig coming in a talent-rich state meant he could battle Saban in recruiting from day one. Plus, there was the age difference with Kirby knowing he could outlast the GOAT, who could not go on forever.

Since then the Alabama Crimson Tide has won two National Championships to Georgia’s none. Alabama has won four SEC Championships to one for the Bulldogs. Worst of all, Kirby is 0-4 against Nick Saban. And the most recent two, both 41-24 losses, have been ugly from a Bulldogs’ perspective.

After the most recent loss in the SEC Championship game, Terence Moore, writing for Forbes succinctly summed up the circumstances,

"Georgia is a college football fraud."

Moore elaborated that until Kirby Smart finds a way to beat Nick Saban, it must be assumed he never will. Kirby probably has neither the time nor inclination to read Forbes. But there is little doubt, as the clock ticks in his head, he must be questioning himself. If he isn’t, he is not smart enough to succeed in his job.

No Alabama Football Erosion

It might be different if there was any indication of erosion in Tuscaloosa. There is not. Nick Saban appears to be at the top of his game; capable of contending for championships for at least another five seasons. They also know in Athens, what is expected in Tuscaloosa – that the 2022 Crimson Tide will be better than the 2021 team.

So Kirby must try to not meltdown, while thinking his team must win on Jan.10. Kirby warned his players about “outside noise” after the SEC Championship game. His distraction is internal and harder to shut out.

Smart and the Dawgs do have an advantage. They know little of what they defensively, and not enough of what they did offensively, worked against the Crimson Tide. Without changes from the Bulldogs, the Tide offense will run past them again.

There is no time to rebuild the Georgia defense. Kirby’s best players are already starters. The Georgia, defensive brain trust, that starts with Kirby and includes Dan Lanning, Glen Schumann and Will Muschamp have to adjust. With Lanning partially out the door to Eugene and Schumann and Muschamp named as co-DCs for next season, there may be internal strife. If there is, Kirby must make sure it does not affect his players.

Next. Vegas does the Tide a favor. dark

All things considered, Kirby Smart has the hardest game preparation he has faced in his career. If he somehow does that well, in the game, he cannot choke again. Tick, tick, tick …