ATHENS — Kirby Smart is about to check out of his Athens’ hotel and head back to Tuscaloosa to coordinate Alabama’s defense for its College Football Playoff run. While he’s there, he might have to share some office space with an old acquaintance.
Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia’s defensive coordinator up until this past Friday, has already joined the Crimson Tide as Smart’s successor. Pruitt reported to head coach Nick Saban immediately and was recruiting for Alabama this past weekend.
Now the two will be reunited as Smart shows up to begin game-planning preparations for Michigan state in the national semifinals.
“He and I are both high school coaches’ sons, so we’ll probably be sharing an office,” Smart said with a chuckle during a teleconference call with beat reporters on Monday. “But we’re used to growing up in small places and being around each other. I don’t have any issue with that. I have a great relationship with Jeremy and Jeremy’s trying to help Alabama win a football game. I understand that, so Jeremy and I have no issues.”
Smart will leave Athens Monday night so he can be at the Alabama football complex Tuesday morning for the first coaches’ meeting. Recruiting entered an NCAA dead period on Monday, so there is nothing else he can do for Georgia in that regard. He said he will not be involved in the Bulldogs’ preparations for the TaxSlayer Bowl.
He said he has done some preparation for Michigan State while he’s been at Georgia.
“I’ve watched some tape on them when I’ve been on planes and stuff,” he said. “So I’ve watched them some.”
Smart said the practice schedules for Georgia and Alabama overlap, so he will be unable to watch the Bulldogs and won’t interfere for their preparations to face Penn State. He said the new coaches he has hired — offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and offensive line coach Sam Pittman — will be involved from an observation standpoint.