Georgia Team News

We could be seeing a ‘Kirby Smart Effect’ in college football

Kirby Smart’s second-year success at Georgia is creating a conundrum for other programs in college football. At issue is head coaches and athletic directors being forced to make tough decisions about hanging on to their top assistants.

The best example is the four-year, $10 million dollar contract for LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Clemson just made a similar commitment to Brent Venables, approving a pay raise for him to make $2 million in 2018.

If any coordinators are worth $2 million a season, breaking that one-time unthinkable threshold for an assistant, those two are it. They’ve had great success at their current schools, are in demand from other top programs, not only as coordinators, but as head coaches – and the NFL could be interested as well.

Texas A&M tried to lure away Aranda, but the Tigers moved heaven and earth to keep him. Venables, for years, has heard his name thrown around for head coaching opportunities, but has stayed at Clemson producing top-tier defenses with elite talent on the field.

As good as they are, Aranda and Venables aren’t the only high-performing, in-demand coordinators around college football. That $2 million salary barrier which shocked us when Aranda broke through it last month will soon become as common as $1 million coordinators, which also shocked us when it occurred for the first time.

Which brings us back to Kirby Smart.

Smart always had a reputation of being a strong recruiter going back to his time as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama. He proved this on a larger scale Wednesday, concluding National Signing Day 2018 with the top-ranked recruiting class.

Saban continues seeing his top assistants like Smart be plucked off his coaching staff as other schools hope to copy the success the Crimson Tide have enjoyed by asking his top lieutenants to replicate it with them. He’s needed to replace six assistant coaches this off-season alone.

Tennessee hopes that Jeremy Pruitt can have the same quick success that Smart has enjoyed in Athens. Like Smart, Pruitt has the reputation of being an excellent recruiter and on-field coach.

The salaries for Aranda and Venables are not being given to them by mistake. Their talents are in high-demand and their employers feel their value is well worth the monetary cost and avoiding the risk of not being able to adequately replace them.

We have heard about the ‘Saban Effect’ when it comes to head coaches being fired for not being able to keep up with him. The ‘Smart Effect’ is successful programs trying to stay on the winning side boosting up salaries for top assistants instead of seeing them leave and possibly being beaten by them.

RELATED: Georgia’s recruiting class is the best, but is it the best ever?

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