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Kirby Smart talks Nick Saban while on The Paul Finebaum Show

While Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Alabama’s Nick Saban may vie for the top spot in the Southeastern Conference, Smart holds nothing but utmost respect for his former boss.

While making an appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show last week, Smart praised Saban for his impact on the game.

“Nick’s been tremendous for our sport. Nobody has moved the college football game more than he has,” Smart said.

“He has done a tremendous job of changing the game. I mean, the SEC is the premier place, primarily because he started bringing national championships there when he came to LSU. So, he’s done a lot for this game.”

Winning back-to-back national titles is something that is rarely done. But Smart’s now been a member of two back-to-back title-winning programs. He was defensive coordinator under Saban when Alabama did it in 2011 and 2012, and obviously Smart did again as head coach at UGA in 2021 and 2022.

Alabama almost did it again in 2013, but the ‘Kick Six’ loss vs. Auburn meant the Tide stayed home. So Smart knows if he wants to win a third title in a row, a lot of things have to go perfectly.

“I think you learn lessons. I mean, we won back-to-back and winning back-to-back was extremely hard then. It’s extremely hard now, and as you start to go on a journey for a third, the pressure just tends to build,” Smart told Finebaum. “We had good enough teams all those years to win it. Sometimes it takes a little luck. I mean, we got lucky against Ohio State (last year). We got lucky against Missouri in a game we didn’t play well. In the SEC, it takes a little luck and you have to have that.

But what I learned from Nick was how to manage an organization, and he is tremendous at that. And look at what he’s done for the state of Alabama and even the city of Tuscaloosa. Nobody has impacted the state of Alabama like he has financially and giving back.”

Story originally appeared on UGA Wire