Let’s be honest: defense wins championships, which is why Smart deserves this salary increase. Sure, he has the privilege of coaching under Nick Saban — considered by many to be the best defensive mind in football history. But it’s ultimately Smart’s job to make sure that the Crimson Tide defense is ready for battle each week, which is a monumental task against the physical offenses of the SEC.
Fortunately for those who bleed Crimson and White, he’s handled this difficult assignment with relative ease.
Under Smart’s leadership, Alabama has fielded one of the most consistent defenses in college football over the last half decade. In fact, the Crimson Tide D has led the nation in total defense in each of the past two years, and has finished no lower than fifth in this category since his initial season in Tuscaloosa.
Not surprisingly, Alabama has won three national championships during that span.
In addition to rewarding Smart for one of the best five-year stretches in college football history, this deal basically ensures that he’ll remain at The Capstone for a very long time. As everyone who follows the Crimson Tide knows, Smart wants to become a head coach one day. With his most recent raise — which will pay him $1.35 million in 2014 and 2015 — Smart will make more money than most head coaches will earn this year.
In other words, it wouldn’t make sense to leave Alabama for just any job. It would have to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which could afford to pay Smart a hefty salary. Since such jobs rarely become available, it doesn’t look like he’ll be leaving anytime soon.
That has to come as welcome news to Tide fans, who’ve become accustomed to defensive excellence.
Terry Johnson is a college football writer for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TPJCollFootball, like him on Facebook and/or add him to your network on Google+