Early Sunday afternoon, AuburnUndercover.com reported that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is set to interview for the head coaching vacancy at Auburn.
Smart is a hot name on the coaching circuit, gathering a number of looks as coaching vacancies have come open in the past few seasons. With every coach comes pros and cons, and Smart is no different.
Taking a look at the possible future head coach, these are the pros and cons that Auburn must measure when deciding if Smart is the right fit for the program.
Kirby Smart has a winning pedigree.
Smart has been the defensive coordinator for Alabama since 2007 when Nick Saban took over the head coaching job in Tuscaloosa. Smart had been a member of Saban’s staff at LSU and Miami.
He has been a part of winning football programs throughout his coaching tenure, making stops at Florida State, Georgia and LSU before landing at Alabama.
In his second season as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, Smart won the Frank Broyles Award given to the country’s top assistant coach. He was the first Alabama coach to ever receive the award.
Smart is a young coach—he is 36—and has a bright future ahead of him. Getting in on a young coach has become a goal for a number of programs that are looking for a resurgence of youth on the sideline.
This move would put a solid disciplinarian in charge of the program, and give Auburn a shot at rebuilding a horrid defense. Smart would undoubtedly hire a defensive coordinator, but he would provide a fresh look for Auburn and help structure a consistent unit.
Serving under Nick Saban has given Smart the opportunity to understand the balance of head coaching duties. He would likely take the same approach that Nick Saban does to the position.
The last major pro for Smart is his ability to recruit the country’s top talent year after year. Alabama has built championship teams on experience and recruiting.
Auburn is already among the nation’s elite in recruiting. If given the chance, Smart would provide a boost to the Tigers' class and solidify an already scary defensive unit that is set to sign in 2013.
The one glaring issue with Auburn hiring Smart is his lack of head coaching experience.
He has none.
Smart has been in coaching since 1999 and has been a part of very successful programs, but he has never guided a football team as head coach. There is a major difference in running a successful defense and running a title-contending football team.
The fact that Auburn would move to hire a defensive coordinator gives the impression that the Tigers could not land a major name that is already leading a team. Smart would be viewed as a contingency hire, not a primary move.
Auburn made a suspect hire when Gene Chizik arrived. If the Tigers administration brings in another assumed “project," there may be a revolt from the masses.
The impression remains that Smart will be a solid head coach when given the opportunity, but starting at Auburn may not be the best fit for both parties.
If Smart fails, it will be a tough hole to climb out of. If he wins, he could become the next big name in Auburn football history.