ATHENS — Maurice Smith had the chance to stay on a team that currently stands ranked No. 1 in the nation, is the favorite to win a second straight national championship, and hasn’t lost a game since September — of last year.
Instead, Smith left Alabama and fought to be able to join Georgia, which is unranked and already has lost twice this year.
So does Smith, the senior cornerback who won a very public battle to go to Georgia, have any regrets as he watches his old team keep winning?
“Oh not at all,” Smith said. “The bonds that I’ve created now, I don’t take it back at all. I think this is still the best decision.”
In fact, Smith said he was saying the same thing to coach Kirby Smart — who also left Alabama after last season, albeit for a job promotion.
“I told Coach Smart that the other day. I just want to thank him and the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play,” Smith said. “You could look at it both ways: Oh, you came from the national championship team to a team that’s not winning. But obviously I don’t look at that, I still think we have opportunities in the future to come, and we could still be a great team.”
If that does happen for Georgia (4-2), then Smith will be front and center. After only starting two games in three years at Alabama, he has started all six games for the Bulldogs at the nickel back spot. Smith is fifth on the team with 26 tackles, and has an interception and 3 pass breakups.
Smith did finish the spring as Alabama’s first-team nickel back, so there may be those who doubt Smith really has no regrets. To that, it’s worth noting that he did win a title at Alabama, so he already owns a ring. He said he knows what he was getting into when he decided to make the transfer.
“Winning wasn’t anywhere in my thought process,” Smith said. “I was really getting somewhere that I was getting comfortable in, that I thought I would have a chance to play in. And to make a tremendous, I guess, statement. And to help the team out. Winning never really crossed my mind.”