Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp: ‘Peas in a pod’ as players, coaches
ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart and former South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp are like “two peas in a pod,” according to Bulldogs middle linebacker Channing Tindall.
Ray Goff, the man who recruited Smart and Muschamp to Georgia as safeties in the 1990s, is in complete agreement.
“Peas in a pod,” Goff said, asked to compare Smart and Muschamp before even learning of Tindall’s comments. “I remember they were both great young men of character, and they were both good players.”
Muschamp began his career at UGA as a walk-on in 1991 before Goff placed him on scholarship, and he was a senior when Smart came along in 1994 as one of Georgia’s final signees in his recruiting class.
“Kirby was underrated, some people didn’t value his ability to play in the SEC, but he did a great job for us,” said Goff, who was the 1976 SEC Player of the Year before spending eight years as an assistant to Vince Dooley and seven more years as a head coach.
“Will wanted to prove he could play and he proved it every day, he’d hit you and he’d get after you,” Goff said. “Nobody wanted to hit with Will, but Kirby would get up in there, too.”
Muschamp, who was officially hired by Smart to serve in an “analyst” role after last season, shares a similar background to the Bulldogs’ head coach in that he is also a Nick Saban protege.
The sideline mannerisms of Smart and Muschamp are similar, as well. Both have exhibited great intensity and emotions on the SEC sidelines over the years.
Indeed, both Smart and Muschamp rose in the Georgia football ranks to serve as team captains.
Tindall noted that, to this day, the similarities don’t stop there.
“They have the same tendencies,” Tindall said on the Tuesday Zoom call following Georgia’s fourth spring practice. “If you ever see Coach Smart with a visor, Coach Muschamp does the same thing (wearing) his visor.”
Beyond the coaching accessories, the relationship between Smart and Muschamp has been well-documented, with Muschamp helping Smart get his first full-time coaching job at Valdosta State.
“You can definitely tell they were best friends, they are best friends,” Tindall said. “Even the advice they give is kinda similar, just the way they say it. They are like two peas in a pod, honestly.”
Muschamp’s hire comes at a good time. Georgia is in the midst of a massive reload in the secondary, and Muschamp and Smart are both noted as specializing in developing defensive backs.
“Coach Muschamp is a really good dude, he’s been helping all the young guys a lot, making sure we all know what’s going on,” UGA cornerback. “Him and Coach Smart are real cool, it’s good to have them off.”