MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Colleges across the country have filled all of the available head coaching jobs this year, but two of the hottest names each time a job comes open are ready to match wits against each other as defensive coordinators in the BCS national championship game at Sun Life Stadium.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has been wooed by several schools and has reportedly almost taken a few jobs. He’s the highest paid coach for the University of Alabama and has helped Nick Saban put together a defense that year in and year out is one of the best in the country.
Smart interviewed for the top job at Auburn this season and was reportedly negotiating a contract before the Tigers hired Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn. Even though he’s a number two on the Alabama staff, he’s in a great position.
Smart said the defensive coordinator job at Alabama is the “best non-head coaching job in the country” and that he’s in a place where he can win. Smart also dodges the recurring question of whether he hopes to eventually replace Saban.
Filling those shoes would be a tall order because if Alabama wins the national championship over Notre Dame, it will be Saban’s fourth national championship in the last eight years. He’s already arguably one of the best college football coaches ever, and that would only cement his legacy further.
On the other side of the field, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has made a name for himself this season. His Fighting Irish defense is number one in the country in many defensive categories and has carried the team to victory at various points in the season.
Diaco also won the Frank Broyles Award in 2012 as the nation’s top assistant coach.
Diaco’s defense’s biggest play came against Stanford when the Irish turned away the Cardinal at the goal line in a dramatic 20-13 overtime victory.
Diaco was a candidate this year for the Boston College job which went to Steve Addazio. Diazo has been critical in the recruiting of much of the defensive talent on the field and has pushed the culture and identity of Notre dame to all of his players.
If Notre Dame continues to succeed under Diaco, he will likely land a head coaching job in the not-so-distant-future.
But for both coaches, the only task they are concerned with now is stopping the opposition in the BCS title game. The job for both is simple, stop the run and get off the field on third down. Well, it sounds simple, until the whistle blows and two of the toughest offenses on the country are on the field.