Smart interviews for vacant coaching job

ATHENS ­ Former Georgia safety Kirby Smart was in Athens on Thursday to interview for one of the openings on the Bulldogs' coaching staff.

Smart, who most recently coached defensive backs for Nick Saban at LSU, is a leading candidate to coach linebackers for Georgia. Les Miles, who took over as LSU's head coach last month when Saban left for the Miami Dolphins, has yet to announce if he is planning on retaining Smart in Baton Rouge.

Smart started for the Bulldogs in 1997 and 1998, when he was a team captain and first-team All-SEC. He led Georgia in interceptions with six in 1997 and five in 1998, and he is tied for fourth all-time at the school with 13 picks.

Smart, 29, was a graduate assistant for the Bulldogs in 1999 and then coached at ValdostaState for two seasons. After another one-year stint as a graduate assistant, this time at FloridaState, he was hired by Saban on Jan. 29, 2004. He was the defensive coordinator for ValdostaState in 2001, when the Division II Blazers were ranked No. 2 in the nation in points allowed.

Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, who was elevated to that spot after defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Brian VanGorder left to take a job with the Jacksonville Jaguars, indicated Thursday that the hiring of a new linebackers coach was not imminent.

The Bulldogs also are looking a running backs coach. Former running backs coach Ken Rucker, who left Monday, already has begun his duties at the University of Texas.

BULLDOG ARRESTED: Sophomore offensive lineman Michael Turner, who played sparingly in two games this season, was arrested in Athens on Jan. 10 after marijuana and an unauthorized prescription drug were found in his car after he was stopped for speeding, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.

According to the police report, an officer searched Turner's car after his passenger, Chase Henderson, who was also arrested, was acting nervous during the stop. The officer found a partially rolled marijuana cigarette and a package containing less than an ounce of marijuana under the passenger's seat. The report further stated that "it was obvious that both knew the marijuana was there." The prescription drug, Aderol, belonged to Henderson, according to the report.

Coach Mark Richt has yet to announce any punishment for Turner.

GARNER'S RESPONSE: Defensive line coach Rodney Garner, the most tenured member of Georgia's assistant coaching staff, voiced no displeasure publicly about Richt's decision to elevate Willie Martinez to defensive coordinator after Brian VanGorder left on Monday.

"I respect Coach Richt's decision," Garner said. "I support his decision, and I support Coach Martinez."


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