Georgia tests Kines again

Georgia tests Kines again

The longtime SEC defensive coordinator heads the Texas A&M; defense the Bulldogs face next Monday.

December 22nd, 2009 by David Paschall in Sports - College

The last time Texas A&M defensive coordinator Joe Kines worked in the Independence Bowl, he was Alabama's interim head coach and provided one of the most entertaining halftime interviews in college football history.

With his Crimson Tide trailing Oklahoma State 24-14 in the 2006 matchup, Kines was asked his thoughts by an ESPN sideline reporter and rapidly roared, "We just have to stop that little inside trap. The option didn't hurt us much. We're playing pretty hard. We've just got to stop that inside thing."

Alabama pulled even with the Cowboys in the second half before losing 34-31 on a last-second field goal. That result has become secondary to the interview, which can be viewed on YouTube simply by typing Joe Kines.

"Those 15 or 20 seconds are probably the highlight of my public career," the 65-year-old said. "I was in such a hurry to get in there and see if we couldn't get that trap stopped to where we'd have a chance to win the game. I probably didn't respond like a polished head coach."

Video: Youtube video of Joe Kines

RAMBLING MAN

The coaching stops through the years of Joe Kines:

1972-76 -- Jacksonville State

1977-78 -- Clemson

1979-84 -- Florida

1985-86 -- Alabama

1987-90 -- Tampa Bay Bucs

1991-94 -- Arkansas

1995-99 -- Georgia

2000-02 -- Florida State

2003-06 -- Alabama

2008-pres -- Texas A&M

Kines had assumed the Crimson Tide reins from Mike Shula, who was fired after a 6-6 regular season, but he was not retained by Nick Saban. He remained in Tuscaloosa by working with Tide Pride, which helps fund scholarships and generates revenue for capital improvements.

He thought he had ended a successful college coaching career that spanned 35 seasons, but Kines was pulled abruptly back in the game in February 2008, when Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman called.

"No one I have ever hired has a greater pedigree or more experience than Coach Kines," Sherman said. "His creative and aggressive approach toward defensive football has always intrigued me. He is definitely proactive -- making offenses adjust to what we are doing, instead of us adjusting to what they are doing."

Said Kines: "I was enjoying what I was doing at Alabama, and I wasn't really considering anything. Coach Sherman asked me if I would come help him get this thing started, and when I met with him, I really liked what he had planned for the program."

Texas A&M, which won three Southwest Conference titles in both the 1980s and the '90s, has been mediocre this decade in the Big 12. The Aggies went 32-28 in five years under Dennis Franchione, went 4-8 last season and are 6-6 heading to Shreveport for their matchup Monday against Georgia.

It's arguably the biggest rebuilding chore Kines has faced, as the Aggies start six sophomores or freshmen and rank 107th in total defense (431.33 yards per game). In five games away from Kyle Field this season, they allowed 47 points to Arkansas, 62 to Kansas State, 52 to Texas Tech, 35 to Colorado and 65 to Oklahoma.

"It's a building thing, and every day we take these young guys and try to make them a little better," he said. "That's all we can do, and if you stack enough of those days together, you become a pretty good football team. It's just like that farmer hoeing that row of cotton. If you get to looking for the end of the row, you may never get there.

"All you can do is take that hoe and keep hoeing."

Kines played at Jacksonville State from 1963 to '65 and began his college coaching career as a JSU graduate assistant in 1972. He has been a defensive coordinator at four Southeastern Conference schools -- Florida (1981-84), Alabama (1985-86 and 2003-06), Arkansas (1992-94) and Georgia (1995-98).

He became the interim head coach at Arkansas after Jack Crowe was fired following an opening loss to The Citadel in '92 and returned to defensive coordinator the ensuing two seasons under Danny Ford. His Alabama defense ranked No. 2 nationally in both 2004 and 2005, and he was a Broyles Award finalist in '05.

"He's a throwback, but he's a very good man," said Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who worked with Kines under Jim Donnan in 1998-99. "The kids love him. He's old-school, but he's a very good football coach and very knowledgeable. He's always done a great job of getting kids to play hard.

"He says some of the funniest, backwards things that crack you up sometimes, but he's a lot of fun."

Kines was Georgia's assistant head coach in 1999, but Donnan named Kevin Ramsey the defensive coordinator. In 2000, Kines temporarily left the SEC for Florida State, where he worked three seasons as linebackers coach and was with Mark Richt for one year.

The Seminoles played for the national title in 2000, losing to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, but haven't been among the national elite since. Richt left his role as FSU offensive coordinator after that game to take over for Donnan at Georgia.

"Joe Kines is an awesome guy," Richt said. "I really don't even know what to say other than he's just got an awesome spirit and that you love being around him. I'm really looking forward to getting a chance to spend some time with him."