Smart Returns to Athens

It is very simple in the world in college football in the South, you are with us or against us. That could not be truer this weekend for Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart.

Smart is a former ALL=SEC and captain for the Univ. of Ga. football team in the late 90's. He is married to a former UGA basketball player Mary Beth (Lycett) Smart. In other words Smart could not be more of a UGA fan favorite right? That would be the total opposite for him this weekend. Not only will Coach Smart be the enemy of the UGA players and fans, he will be locked into a chess match with a life long friend in UGA Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo. Anybody that knows these two knows the competitive nature and rivalry among them. It is fierce and at times can get nasty even on a golf course so you can imagine the desire for each this weekend.

UGA fans have one thing they better be thankful for this week and that Coach Smart's recruiting a certain running back from New Jersey by the name of Knowshon Moreno. Smart was locked into a recruiting battle head to head with Urban Meyer for the services of Moreno. Things were looking good for the Gators after having Moreno on campus all weekend just the weekend before. A few days later it was Smart who was able to secure the commitment on a Sunday night in late January in New Jersey. Who says games are not won in living rooms? Not real sure where UGA would be at this point without this young man. You also have to wonder what Coach Smart will be thinking standing on the opposite sideline trying so hard to stop a young man he tried so hard to get. You think Nick Saban said a word of thanks to Coach Smart this week for the extra work that Moreno puts on an opposing staff? Whatever the outcome of the night will bring on Saturday night in Athens, Smart will one day look back and be very proud that he got this young man to play on the very field he once roamed along side another great Champ Bailey. I do not think this Saturday night will be one of those days however.

This is not Kirby Smart's first appearance on the opposing sideline vs.UGA. He and Nick Saban brought the defending national champs into Sanford Stadium in 2004 and walked into an ambush. The LSU defense was torched to the tune of 430 yds of Offense while giving up 45 points with David Greene throwing 5 Td's. It was so bad that night Smart said "I never turned my cell phone on. I just had someone clear my voicemail out and started over Monday." That person asked Smart later "You consider those people your friends?" One can only imagine what Smart's UGA friends could have said to him in that inbox. One thing is for sure you can bet Coach Smart and Coach Saban have not forgotten that game and hope to have a better feeling this time when leaving Sanford Stadium. You can also bet that Smart is already on speed dial for some of his UGA friends just waiting to leave him another "friendly" message should Alabama lose.


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