Kirby Smart has settled in nicely at Georgia. The former Bulldogs four-year letterman at defensive back brought his alma mater to the national championship game last year in his second season as head coach.
Smart has had any coaching stops at Valdosta State, Florida State and the Miami Dolphins, in addition to one-year stints at Georgia in 1999 and LSU in 2004.
Smart was asked at his weekly news conference Monday about his time in Baton Rouge. Below are a few questions and answers from his news conference.
On his memories of being an assistant coach at LSU ...
Smart: It was an incredible place to coach and recruit. I can remember going to my areas within the state and very well received. You're really the only major university there in the state within the SEC. So when you go out recruiting, it's not really recruiting as much as it is figuring out who the best players are and go get them.
The atmosphere, like I talked about, I think all their sports teams are incredible, and Baton Rouge is a great place. At the time when I was living there, it was a great place to be, enjoyed it a lot, got really good memories of a great staff. And being a young coach on that staff was very influential on me to get to be around guys like Jimbo (Fisher) and Will (Muschamp) and obviously Coach (Nick) Saban and Derek (Dooley), and there was a lot of good coaches on that staff. So it was a good experience for me.
On some of the extra emotions that come down on the sidelines when you're coaching against a team that you've previously coached for...
Smart: I wouldn't say that there's extra emotions about it. I mean the emotions come from you want your team to play as well as they can for us. It's a game, and regardless of who it's against, that never factors in. For me it doesn't. I'm personally trying to get our team ready to play. None of these kids care that I coached there. It has no effect on them, so I don't think that has a bearing on the game.
Michael Divinity had finally gotten to the quarterback — or so he thought.
On the importance of Georgia fans showing up and trying to level out the road atmosphere a little more...
Smart: Yeah, I don't know if level out is the right word. I mean they're not going to be giving away home tickets, I can promise you that. So our fanbase travels. They've been very passionate. I'm sure we'll have a lot of fans there that may not have tickets that are trying to go, and I think that shows the passion and energy we have within our fanbase, and that's incredible. But when you line up out there between the lines, at the end of the day, it's 11 on 11, and that's what we gotta keep it about. They've got tremendous fans. It's one of the loudest places in the country to play. But I don't think our fans will be able to help us when we get inside those lines.