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Kirby Smart opens his fourth spring football session as Georgia's head coach on Tuesday.

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart strongly denies relationship issue with Nick Saban

ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart laughed when asked if he and Alabama coach Nick Saban had a strained relationship.

“Absolutely not,” Smart said at the Bulldogs’ opening spring football press conference on Tuesday. “I don’t have any issue or any problem with any relationship with Nick.

“As a matter of fact, I don’t think it’s done anything but grown with more respect since we played them twice.”

Alabama beat Georgia in the College Football Playoff Championship Game two years ago, and again in the SEC Championship Game last December.

SEC Network host Paul Finebaum had indicated there were issues between Saban and Smart this offseason.

“We have a great relationship,” Smart said of his friendship with Saban. “We’re not texting and calling buddy buddy, but I don’t do that with anybody.

“I have a lot of respect for him, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and there’s no problem with our relationship.”

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