Alabama football and Georgia staffs not exchanging Christmas cards

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Since Kirby Smart became the Bulldogs’ head coach, the Alabama football vs. Georgia rivalry has flamed. Battling over recruits has led to strained relations.

Many Alabama football fans relish recent news Kirby Smart is dealing with some adversity as the Georgia Bulldogs head man. All is not well in Athens. A good number of Crimson Tide fans believe Kirby has earned every bit of comeuppance.

Before elaborating it is important to disclose this post is driven by rumor and conjecture, and maybe a few facts. Some of the rumors are so old and so frequently repeated to have reached conventional wisdom status. We offer no validation of any of the rumors. But that does not stop us from believing many of them.

To the extent there is bad blood between the Alabama football and Georgia Bulldogs staffs, we think Nick Saban ignores it. However Nick feels about whatever has transpired would be exactly the kind of distraction, Nick has conditioned himself to block out. He is simply unwilling to waste his time on what some former assistant, now competitor, does or doesn’t do.

The rest of the Alabama football staff is more human. Much like Jimbo Fisher when he spoke about alleged Georgia recruiting shenanigans a few days ago, the Tide assistants when pushed, will push back, as hard as is necessary.

A cutthroat mentality is common among coaches in heated recruiting battles. Rules of decorum are minimal. It is akin to war without actual physical combat.

Saban assistants have moved up to head coaching jobs and quickly recruited against their former boss, without any serious controversy. Not so with Kirby Smart. Even before Kirby exited Tuscaloosa, the (alleged) phone photo of the Crimson Tide recruiting ‘Big Board’ was both an attack and an affront.

To many Crimson Tide fans, Kirby has become the least respectful and least appreciative of Nick Saban’s coaching pupils. And to some of us, Kirby exhibits an arrogance inconsistent with his coaching abilities. Yes, he can recruit but Georgia, particularly greater Atlanta, is loaded with top talent.

On the basis of top recruiting classes, Georgia should remain very good long enough for Kirby to learn and earn the respect of other coaches. That is if he doesn’t trip over his own ego too many times. Rumors are rampant he has widely over-promised playing time to top recruits. The expected exit of quarterback Justin Fields appears to be an example of almost sure failure when making such promises.

The most recent Kirby rumor is he was so sure of landing Trey Sanders, he did not hide celebrating the coup BEFORE Early Signing Day. According to some insiders, Kirby’s antics were viewed unfavorably by IMG coaches and Sanders family members.

One thing is clear. Kirby can sell Georgia as the ‘new Alabama’ for only so long. Without a championship soon, the time clock on that line will expire. And when your word is not believed to be your bond, reputations quickly tarnish, especially in the living rooms of recruit’s families.

If any, much, or all of the Kirby rumors are true, Alabama football fans don’t need to worry. The Alabama Crimson Tide continues to settle issues on the football field.

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On the opposite end of how to leave the Alabama football staff graciously is Mike Locksley. Coach Locks was a key recruiter for the IMG guys. Insiders reports when Georgia and others pushed hard late, Locks was a stabilizing influence in keeping recruit’s attentions focused on the value of signing with Alabama football.