Kirby Smart Proud To Coach Tide ‘D'

A valuable addition to any team in any sport is to have an athlete who is considered "a coach on the field." Part of that comes from personality, part from preparation and execution.

Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman has a reputation as a coach on the field for the Crimson Tide, a man who understands the Nick Saban process. Bama's coach is clear that players have to know what to do, how to do it, and -- perhaps most difficult -- why to do it in a correct manner.

Chapman gets it.

Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart was asked Saturday about the ability of the Crimson Tide defenders to recognize and diagnose quickly.

"They are very instinctive," Smart said. "Instinctive in play recognition, formation recognition. Yesterday I go down the hallway getting ready for practice and Chapman is in there watching tape. Our kids do a good job of watching tape and seeing things. They like football. They enjoy the game. That's the reason they have been successful."

The Alabama defense takes to the field for the final time in the 2011 season Monday in the BCS National Championship Game against LSU. Bama, 11-1 with the lone loss to LSU in regular season play, takes on the Tigers at 7:30 p.m. CST Monday in the Louisiana Superdome. ESPN will televise the game.

Chapman is a 6-1, 310-pound senior from Hoover. He has been a two-year starter after backing up Terrence Cody on Alabama's 2009 national championship team.

smart said this year's defense is similar to the 2009 unit, but "kind of different because we are really good on the edges, and really stout inside with Chap. It's similar [to 2009], but I think this one has a little more speed to it.

"This defense is as good as any I've ever been around."

Smart called Monday's BCS National Championship Game "a great opportunity.

"I'm proud to be the coach of this defense. We have a great group of leaders. These guys have played a long time. There are a lot of faces that we also in Pasadena (for Alabama's 2009 national championship victory).

"We're very fortunate to have this great group. I'm proud of them. Our staff recruited the, and I can remember recruiting each one of them. I'm going to be really sad to see them go. They've led this team to a lot of victories, and they are good kids."

It is no surprise that Chapman thinks he would like to coach one day, perhaps as a strength coach. He's considered the strongest man on Alabama's football team, and the Crimson Tide is as strong as they come.

"I like football and I like helping people learn, so I think I would like to coach," Chapman said.

Smart has long been considered likely to get a head coaching position. Chapman said if that happened, he would like very much to coach under Smart. "I love playing for him, so of course I'd love to coach for him," Chapman said.

Chapman should be aware that it would be demanding to work under Smart, who will come by that trait naturally. The Bama defensive coordinator was asked about working under Saban, considered a demanding taskmaster.

"When you say ‘demanding,'" Smart said, "to me the definition of ‘demanding' is they require you do do what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it and why you're supposed to do it."

(Sound familiar?)

"So, yeah," Smart said, "he's demanding. He requires you to do your job. He holds everyone accountable. And when he's demanding, he's usually right.

"That's probably the greatest feature I will take with me when I become a head coach is you have to be demanding. You have to be able to confront people if they are not doing their job or not doing it the way you want it. It's hard sometimes."

Smart said he is "definitely" ready to be a head coach when the right opportunity comes. He said that opportunity had not yet presented itself and he didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it.

"I'm completely happy at The University of Alabama, being the defensive coordinator," he said. "It's the greatest no-head coach job in the country and a great place to be. There are great players here and a great support system.

"But, yeah, certainly I think I'm ready." ?

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