New UGA coach Kirby Smart took a break from his duties as Alabama’s defensive coordinator to attend Saturday’s TaxSlayer Bowl between the Bulldogs and Penn State.
Here’s what Smart said during an interview with ESPN:
On the game: “A lot of energy and a lot of passion. I like the way they’re playing defensively and I think (UGA interim offensive coordinator John) Lilly is doing a great job on offense with the playcalling.”
On recruiting for UGA while still working for Alabama: “I’ve been able to get on the phone with a lot of kids. We’re excited about the state of Georgia. It’s a great state for highs school football, great coaches. There’s a lot of good players in a five-hour radius of Athens. We’re trying to take part in getting some of those guys to come to us.”
On managing his time between UGA and Alabama: “It’s difficult. I think if you focus on the task at hand and you can compartmentalize things and do certain things at certain times and focus on that, it makes it a lot easier. I’ve been very fortunate to work for a guy like coach (Nick Saban) for a lot of years who’s managed that. For us, moving forward, we got to get good players, we got to recruit hard, we got to continue to do that. That’s my focus currently.
On the biggest surprise on being a head coach: “Hiring the staff, getting used to that, going to interview coaches, talking to people and doing that business. That’s the biggest difference for me. It’s really hard because your time is constrained trying to do these two jobs. Just finding a way to get on the phone and meeting people face to face so you can hire the staff.”