Kirby Smart goes head-to-head with Mike Greenberg

Kirby Smart, left, next to Mike Greenberg on the set Monday morning.

ATHENS — Four months ago, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pointed at Kirby Smart – or at least the camera – and said: “Shame on you.” On Monday, Smart got a chance to answer Greenberg, in person.

Smart, along with other SEC head coaches, went through the so-called “car wash” at ESPN, in which they appear on various platforms in the network. That meant Smart had a sit-down on “Mike and Mike” with Greenberg, who back in the spring had very pointed criticism for Smart not releasing tailback A.J. Turman to transfer to certain schools, including Miami.

After about 10 minutes discussing other matters, Greenberg brought up his criticism of Smart, and offered him an open-ended chance to respond.

“I appreciate that, Mike, first of all,” Smart said. “And I think in the down time of college football, when there’s not a lot going on, it’s easy to reach and grab straws to yell and scream about something, and I certainly think that issue is a sensitive issue to a lot of people. And I certainly see both sides of the issue.

“And I’m also – the only thing I’d say is – I’m trying to protect the University of Georgia. And do what a lot of my competitors do as well. And that’s really where it’s at.”

Greenberg then remarked that he followed up his criticism of Smart by appearing on the Paul Finebaum show, and was then eviscerated by callers.

“Welcome to the SEC,” Smart said, grinning.

Then they moved on to other subjects. Four months had either eroded the hard feelings, or at least the urgency of the subject matter.


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