clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The case for Kirby Smart as Maryland's next head football coach

New, 37 comments

The architect of Alabama's defense would bring a strong resume to College Park.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.

Kirby Smart, Alabama defensive coordinator and secondary coach

Possibility Scale: 2/10

The resume

Kirby Smart has been the Crimson Tide's current defensive coordinator since 2007. A native of Alabama, Smart played college football for Georgia and bounced around college teams as a defensive coach. He was first a defensive coordinator for Valdosta State in 2001, but he's bounced around college football as a coordinator and positional coach. He's had stints with Florida State, Georgia, LSU and the NFL's  Miami Dolphins.

He has worked under Nick Saban for years as a defensive backs coach for LSU, as safeties coach for the Miami Dolphins and as Alabama's defensive coordinator. Smart has coached the Tide defense to three national championships, and he is currently one of the sport's wealthiest assistants. He was rewarded with the Broyles Award in 2009 as the best assistant coach in the nation.

The benefits

Smart could be beneficial to Maryland by strongly improving the defense and helping the team develop like Alabama's did. He has the championship pedigree and defensive chops to be a guiding light for a program that needs one. He's recruited well at Alabama (although that's not the hardest place to recruit), bringing on a long list of five-star recruits on both sides of the ball to play in Tuscaloosa.

The drawbacks

Though Smart is one of the top defensive coordinators in the nation, he does not have a lot of experience coaching on the other side of the ball. Given recent statements of preference toward an offensive coach by Maryland's administration, Smart wouldn't be the No. 1 choice in the way of opening up and improving Maryland's offense. He'd need to be paired with a dynamic offensive coordinator.

To the extent it's a problem (which is debatable), Smart doesn't have any notable connections to Maryland. He hasn't spent much time (if any) recruiting the Washington area or the state at large, and his success has come on far different geographical terrain. That's not to say Smart couldn't succeed at Maryland, but he's much less of a known quantity as a Big Ten head coach than he is as a dominant SEC defensive coordinator.

One sentence

Smart has good reason to be comfortable at Alabama and isn't likely to venture north, but he'd bring a strong resume and foundation of success with him to Maryland.