Smart Credits Saban In Shaping Career, Football Program

Alabama is going for its seventh college football championship under Nick Saban against the favored Georgia Bulldogs and coach Kirby Smart in Indianapolis tomorrow night, . This isn’t the first time these two have faced off for the national championship. 

In the 2017 CFP title game, Alabama won in overtime with then quarterback Tua Tagovailoa connected to wide receiver and future Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith for a game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass. This time, the Bulldogs like their chances and how their team stacks up with the Rolling Tide.

“These teams are pretty much evenly matched when it comes to personnel and physicality,” Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis said, and that may not be a coincidence as Smart used to assist Saban and credits him to help shaping Georgia’s football program.

 “My biggest goal was to be successful when I came to Georgia. When you take on your first head coaching job, I was very fortunate to work under some really good head coaches, the likes of Coach Saban, Coach Bowden, Coach Richt and my father….But as far as the way we organize and run the program, most of that came from my time spent with Coach Saban,” said Smart.

In 2004, then-LSU coach Saban hired Smart from Florida State, making him a Defensive Back coach. The two went on to spend a year in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, where Smart served as Saban’s safeties coach. When Saban accepted the head coaching job at University of Alabama in 2007, Smart followed. In Smart’s second season, Saban promoted him to defensive coordinator, where he remained from 2008 through 2015. Under Smart, the Alabama defense dominated and finished in the top five nationally seven out of eight years. In 2016, the head coach call came from Georgia, his alma matter, and the rest is one for the books.

‘You take a lot of things from the places you come from in your history. That’s certainly helped shape me as a coach’ continues Smart.  

Coach Smart gave his former boss and his Roll tide team additional props.

“I’d like to congratulate Coach Saban and their team. They’ve done a tremendous job. We’ve gotten to see them once already and know how good they are. They really do not have weaknesses across the board. They’re playing really, really good football right now. And it should be a tremendous challenge for our team tomorrow night.”

Coach Saban returned the compliment,

“I’d also like to congratulate Kirby and his team at Georgia for having an outstanding team and earning their way into the national championship game as well. They’ve been one of the most consistent, well-coached teams all year long. And it’s certainly going to be a great challenge for us to have the opportunity to play them”

Who will come out victorious tomorrow night? We will find out tomorrow night as the Dawgs and Crimson Tide take the field at 8pm on ESPN. 

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