Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Multiple media reports, including this one from the Tuscaloosa News , have indicated that new Florida coach Will Muschamp has offered the Gators' defensive coordinating position to friend and fellow Nick Saban disciple Kirby Smart, the current Alabama defensive coordinator.
Though there's a good chance Smart accepts, it appears that as of this writing no decision has been made . A "yes," however, would be a huge coup for Muschamp and the Gators, simultaneously giving them what would likely qualify as the most well-respected defensive brain trust in the country -- with both Muschamp and Smart at the very top of their field -- and weakening the Tide program still generally seen as the Gators' biggest long-term hurdle to the SEC championship.
As for why Smart has emerged in a tug-of-war between two of the nation's biggest programs, the 2009 Broyles Award winner has been learning from Saban for the past four seasons and in his two years at the Tide defensive coordinator has overseen first the national title-winning, No. 2 in total defense-ranking, life-strangling unit that paced Alabama in 2009, and this year the nation's sixth-ranked defense despite the loss of a whopping 10 starters from the '09 world-beaters. The Georgia alumnus was heavily pursued by Mark Richt to fill the Dawgs' open defensive coordinator's chair last offseason, but elected to take a raise and stay in Tuscaloosa.
If Muschamp succeeds where Richt failed, the new coaching era at Florida will have gotten off to just about the most smashing start Gator fans might have hoped for.