JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Kirby Smart did indeed come here on Friday to be with the Georgia football team, along with his new offensive coordinator and someone else who might be joining the staff.
Smart was seen at the Bulldogs’ team hotel on Friday afternoon, having flown in after Thursday night’s Alabama victory over Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. That meant a further delay in Smart taking over the Bulldogs full-time, but Smart spent Friday afternoon and evening working for the Bulldogs.
Jim Chaney, who has been named Georgia’s new offensive coordinator, was with Smart at the hotel. The two entered a meeting room together around 3:15 p.m. on Friday.
Shortly thereafter they were joined by another man, who appeared to be coaching candidate James Coley, or someone who looked very much like him. It was not clear who else might have been in the meeting.
Smart declined comment when reached later that night.
Coley just finished a stint as Miami’s offensive coordinator, and is not being retained by new Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt. There is a connection between Coley and Smart: They worked together at LSU, where Coley was a graduate assistant in the early 2000s when Smart was an assistant coach there.
Coley has coached both quarterbacks and tight ends, but Chaney was named quarterbacks coach when he was hired in December. Georgia has an opening for tight ends coach with John Lilly headed elsewhere after the game.
Smart has four more assistant coaches to officially hire, most prominently the defensive coordinator.