Smart expected to stay with Alabama through end of season

Kirby Smart runs off the field at the Georgia Dome after one of Alabama's SEC championship wins.

ATHENS — It looks like it will take awhile for Kirby Smart to take over as Georgia’s coach on a full-time basis.

Smart is expected to remain with Alabama through the national playoff or even its bowl. That’s according to Phil Savage, who is the radio analyst for Alabama games. Savage cited a source while appearing Thursday on XM/Sirius radio.

The two national semifinal games are on Dec. 31, while the national championship is Jan. 11.

It’s not a surprise that Smart would remain with Alabama through the playoff, as that’s what Tom Herman did as Ohio State offensive coordinator last year after taking the Houston job. It might be a more open question if Alabama loses to Florida on Saturday and is thus left out of the playoff.

But Smart can still serve in a sort of dual role over the next month, coaching Alabama’s defense but recruiting for Georgia while getting the chance, and putting his staff in place. He just won’t physically be in Athens.

Smart was hired as Georgia’s coach earlier this week, according to numerous sources, but no official announcement is expected until after Saturday’s SEC championship.

Mark Richt was supposed to coach Georgia through its bowl game, but now that’s up in the air with Richt accepting the job at Miami. If Richt doesn’t coach in the game the prime candidates will be Bryan McClendon (who carries the title of assistant head coach) and Tracy Rocker (associate head coach.)

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