Skip to main content

Kirby Smart Addresses Report Of Rift With Nick Saban

Kirby Smart and Nick Saban speaking after a n SEC Championship football game.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shakes hands with head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs after the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 35-28 in the 2018 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Having worked for Nick Saban for over a decade before coaching one of Alabama's rivals, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is believed by some to be at odds with his former boss. Faced with renewed questions of a potential rift between him and the Alabama head coach, Smart decided to address the reports.

In a recent radio appearance on 680 The Fan via Saturday Down South, Smart was asked about recent comments by ESPN college talk show host Paul Finebaum about a rift between him and Saban. He immediately dismissed the notion of a rift by reaffirming his respect for his former boss.

“I know that media sells and that everybody is an entertainer these days and everybody has to come up with their theories but I also know the personal relationship and I have with somebody that I worked for 12 years and have an immense amount of respect for and I worry about what I know to be true,” Smart said in response to Finebaum’s comments.

Smart spent the better part of 12 years as a member of Saban's staff, following him from LSU to the Miami Dolphins to Alabama in 2007. He served as the Crimson Tide defensive coordinator from 2008 to 2015 before taking the Georgia job.

Since then, Alabama and Georgia have faced off twice, with Saban beating his former protege in the SEC Championship Game and CFP national title game.

Saban and Smart have yet to play each other in the regular season, and are not scheduled to until 2020.

Both games between Alabama and Georgia have been extremely close though, with Georgia holding fourth quarter leads in the contests.

While the gap between Nick Saban and Kirby Smart is vast in terms of accomplishments, the gap between their two teams as far as talent and coaching may not be nearly as wide.