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Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
The coaching carousel is a part of college football. Coaches come and go. After they give their best for whatever school they are at, they move onto something else that is the best choice for them and their families.
Offensive and defensive coordinators Jim McElwain and Kirby Smart are on the brink of becoming head coaches themselves and stepping out from under Saban's shadow to create their own legacies.
Both have done a heck of a job for the Tide. They've won one national championship, missed playing for one in 2008 by a nose and are headed to compete for another this year.
McElwain is back and forth involving the coaching position at Memphis, according to AL.com. Jim is almost 50 years old and needs to seriously think about a head coaching position this late in his career.
Kirby Smart has interviewed for the head coaching position at Texas A&M, also from AL.com. A move like this is a serious gamble for Smart.
Smart is only 35 years old, but he has just over 10 years of coaching experience, beginning at his alma mater, Georgia, the year after he graduated as a Bulldog player.
Texas A&M is a six-loss team this year after playing in the Big 12 during an up year. But they are about to move to the SEC. Even "middle-of-the-road" SEC teams like Mississippi State are tough. Look what they did to Michigan last year in their bowl game. They won, 52-14.
With TA&M struggling in the Big 12, they are in for an extremely rough ride in 2012 in the SEC. This would be a situation that could set Smart up for utter failure as a rookie head coach at an underdog program in the toughest landscape.
The gamble could pay off, too. Smart could turn A&M into a 10-win team in the SEC in his first year and set him on the path of the next legendary coach.
In a matter of opinion, Smart would be smart and stay at Alabama a few more years until Saban retires. I just don't see Nick coaching past 65, and at his current rate, Kirby would be the next head coach.
Whatever happens, the coaching carousel has to be dealt with, and Nick Saban is one of the best at selecting staff members.