Smart says he’ll attend Georgia’s bowl, shares thoughts on Pruitt

Kirby Smart, who intentionally wore a generic black top to Cotton Bowl media day, says he will travel to Jacksonville for Georgia's bowl game. (Jeff Schultz / jschultz@ajc.com)

Kirby Smart, who intentionally wore a generic black top to Cotton Bowl media day, says he will travel to Jacksonville for Georgia’s bowl game. (Jeff Schultz / jschultz@ajc.com)

DALLAS — Welcome back to the All-Kirby/All-The-Time Cotton Bowl. New Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday he has packed some Bulldogs team gear and he plans to wear some of it after the Cotton Bowl when he travels to Jacksonville for the Dogs’ Taxslayer Bowl game against Penn State on Jan. 2.

“I’m going to fly right after the game,” Smart said. “The Georgia stuff is in the (hotel) closet. My wife brought some stuff but I really haven’t looked in there to see what’s there.”

The schedule works out since Georgia’s bowl falls two days after Smart will coach Alabama’s defense against Michigan State. He said he plans to “just observe the game” and “meet with some people,” as well as fulfill some media obligations. He doesn’t expect to meet with the existing coaching staff.

Smart said he’s not sure if he’ll watch the game from the field or a box, adding, “I obviously have some stuff here to worry about right now.”

He also said the result of Alabama’s game will determine whether he travels from Jacksonville to Athens (if the Crimson Tide loses) or back to Tuscaloosa (if the Tide wins).

Smart also mused over the fact that he wore plain khaki slacks and a logo-free black pullover over a white T-shirt at the Cotton Bowl’s media day. He was the only Alabama coach or player in attendance who did not wear official Alabama gear. (Alabama coach Nick Saban didn’t wear a team shirt but his sweater was team colors.)

“I purposely dug this out of the closet,” Smart said. “You notice what it has on it, right?”

(Nothing.)

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, sitting at an interview table near Smart, said, “I already said something to him about that. Obviously he did it on purpose. I may go put my visor on him.”

Smart touched on a few other topics:

• On former Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt: He’s replacing Smart as Alabama’s defensive coordinator. Smart acknowledged he “visited several times” with Pruitt about staying at Georgia but he would not say if he ever actually offered him the job.

“We had heart-to-hearts,” Smart said. “But that stays between Jeremy and I because we’re close friends. We obviously had conversations because that’s part of the process. … The biggest thing with him is he had a chance to come back to Alabama. This is where he played. This is where he went to school, and he thought it was a great setup for him. He came back to a great place and he’s working for a great man.”

Smart reiterated that he was given the freedom to hire any coach he wanted and at no time did athletic director Greg McGarity take Pruitt off the table because of any reported friction this past season.

When asked about reports Pruitt and his abrasive personality was at the center of dysfunction on the Georgia coaching staff, Smart said, “I don’t know the answer to that because I wasn’t there. I heard a  lot of the same rumors you heard. A lot of people told me stuff that I didn’t know to be true. I didn’t verify it. I can’t verify it. And I didn’t want to get caught up in that because I really didn’t care. All I care about is what happens past that. How are we going to progress and go forward? And like I said, he had a great opportunity come up.

• On coaching defense himself: Smart admitted that the thought of being his own defensive coordinator at Georgia “has crossed my mind.” But it’s not his preference and he will continue to interview candidates.

“Some coaches have done that. Lane did that from an offensive perspective and Will (Muschamp) said he was probably more involved with the defense (at Florida) because it was his passion. But you have to be careful. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. It’s all going to be dictated by who I’m able to contact and talk to. But it’s obviously a big responsibility. It’s not something I want to put on my plate. But if I don’t find the right guy, then it might come to that.”

• On how much time he is spending daily on Georgia: “Five or six hours. I sleep about six hours so that leaves, what 10 or 12 (on Alabama)? This has changed everything,” Smart said, holding up his cellphone. He noted, “The bus ride over here to the stadium was 30 minutes,” enough time for phone calls.

Smart said Saban has been very accommodating and that he has been excused from recruiting or academic meetings since accepting the Georgia job.

Recent ramblings

Reader Comments 0

23 comments
HootyGoot
HootyGoot

As far as I'm concerned it's not where you were born or where you went to school or how you wear your hair or what kind of clothes you wear. It's about winning and good coaching and good recruiting. Kirby couldn't have had a better mentor than Nick Saban.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

Kirby needs a new hair stylist. Now that he is making big $$$$$ he can go to an upper class salon to get his hair done.  


That Buster Brown cut is so 1990's.  

Jim Hediger
Jim Hediger

A big Gator fan, but glad to see Rich at Miami. Geotgia showed their lack of class in his firing. Miami gets a great coach and human being and Georgia continues to stumble on. Smart will be gone in three years when he figures out their program is a sham!

dawg fan
dawg fan

'd@Jim Hediger  "Miami gets a great coach and human being and Georgia continues to stumble on."  LOL.  Huh?  CONTINUES to stumble on?"  But I thought Richt was a "great" coach?  Let's try and get our story straight guy.  Funny how a big Gator fan is such a huge supporter of Richt.  It speaks volumes about Richt and his coaching accomplishments, or lack thereof, if you ask me.  I doubt you'd have such warm and fuzzy feelings for the guy if he was handing your team it's butt on the football field.  It rarely works out that way.

Thanks for confirming that it was time to give him the boot. 

TU
TU

@dawg fan @Jim Hediger  Richt had interviews with a B10 and ACC schools within days of his dismissal. Seems not everyone in his industry  thinks he is a chump coach

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TU @dawg fan @Jim Hediger

CMR is not a chump ,but it was time for him to leave UGa. Glad he found a home back at his alma mater (Miami U). At least being in the ACC coastal CMR can try to maintain his dominance over Ga.Tech.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

@TU @dawg fan @Jim Hediger Yes, he was contacted by UVA and Maryland.  The standards at UGA and not UVA and Maryland.  It is amazing that to you the standard of a great and amazing coach is if they get contacted by those to traditional powerhouses to lead them in to glory.  

Peachs
Peachs

Smart has every right to wear red, he played there, born in Georgia and will not take long to renew what should be a very natural relationship with the school. He also does not have to contend with Dooley when he arrives, the road is all his. 

Peachs
Peachs

Just saw he was born in Ala. and grew up in Georgia, still a natural for the job. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Savior Pruitt


We hardly knew ye.


Seems to be a dog trend.

kerryb
kerryb

This guy's not an OSU fan. He is a childish antagonizer that's really a Tech fan.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


HIs license was suspended for an unpaid parking ticket and he didn't know it. Further, he hydroplaned on a freeway. No one was hurt but go ahead and have a laugh. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@kerryb



kerry, you simple simple person you. 


I've got oceanfront in Nebraska - cheap! I


Interested?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO @Big Wally

One unpaid parking ticket, now that's a nice excuse. How would a college educated person not know about an unpaid ticket. Is it the policy of the Columbus ,Ohio parking enforcement division to suspend driver's licenses for one unpaid parking ticket. At least they would have sent notice to Mr. Elliott that he was delinquent in paying said ticket.Likely Mr, Elliott has accumulated several parking tickets and has the attitude of many "entitled Athletes" that he does not have to pay them. But go ahead Bucky , we will all share a laugh and take Mr. Elliott's word that it was just one little parking ticket that resulted in his driver's license being suspended.

Hope Zeke has a big game vs the Irish.

dawg fan
dawg fan

So Kirby is in the middle of a national title run but he can still find time to attend his new teams' bowl game but Richt couldn't be bothered going to the Sun Bowl?  And what exactly does Richt  have going on right now?  Scouting out south Florida tanning beds?  I think this speaks volumes about the different work ethics of these two men.  Thank God and greyhound that Richt is gone. 

JustTheFacts
JustTheFacts

@dawg fan

Relentless.  Hopefully you'll run out of daggers at some point & move forward. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@dawg fan Smart once had a story about how he and Saban were working on a game plan on Christmas Day.  I don't think Richt ever did that or got that from his coaches.  I think Smart is going to be a lot more demanding as a HC than Richt ever was.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Big Wally Smart understands that when you accept 6 and 7 figure salaries that people expect this kind of dedication and focus.  Richt and his supporters always acted like this was a middle school football league.  Thank God and greyhound that Richt can "build young men" on someone else's dime now. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@JustTheFacts I'll move forward when the Fan Club moves forward.  They don't support Smart and I'm going to let them hear about it.  Sorry. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

He'll probably be the only one.


On second thought, Chip will be there too. 

Edgar
Edgar

I’m sure Pruitt was miserable at UGA. Where he’s going will give us all a look at his true talent. Lane Kiffin was almost ruined by Al Davis and Pat Haden. Most thought he wouldn’t last under Saban. He’s fit in well there.