UGA Notebook: Smart Takes Over At UGA, Going Bowling Against A Familiar Foe & SEC Coaches Honor Three

Sean Taylor/ Georgia Athletics

ATHENS, Ga.— Less than a week after Georgia and then head coach Mark Richt “mutually agreed” to part ways, there was a new coach named to take over in Athens. His name is Kirby Smart and he is coming home to where he played his college football.

Smart began his coaching career with the Bulldogs in 1999, as an administrative assistant. For the past nine years he has been on Nick Saban’s coaching staff with the Alabama Crimson Tide, primarily as the defensive coordinator.

“I don’t think words can express how honored and privileged I am to stand before you as the head coach at the University of Georgia,” Smart said. “I’d like to first thank President (Jere W.) Morehead, Greg McGarity and the athletic board. I also want to express how much I appreciate the last nine years I spent at the University of Alabama. Coach (Nick) Saban has been a great mentor during that time and I would not be before you today were it not for him.”

During his time at Alabama, Smart has been in charge of a group that has finished no lower than 12th nationally in total defense. He has also been a part of a staff that has won four SEC Championships and three national titles.

Smart will remain with the Crimson Tide, until their season has come to conclusion. However, he is currently recruiting for Georgia until next Tuesday, when Alabama starts their preparation for Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, as part of the College Football Playoff.

Georgia Heads To Jacksonville Again

The Georgia Bulldogs found out on Sunday night that they will be heading to the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State is coached by former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.

Franklin isn’t well thought of by some Georgia fans, for his on-field spat with then Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham after the 2011 game between the schools in Nashville. Some also remember Franklin’s celebration after the Commodores fake field goal pulled off against the Bulldogs in 2013.

Georgia will be led in this game by interim head coach Bryan McClendon, who is looking forward to the matchup.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our team and especially our seniors to play on January 2 in a great facility and warm weather city,” McClendon said. “It will be a chance to record another ten-win season and we’re looking forward to playing Penn State which is one of the iconic brands in college football. They are very rich in tradition and have had a successful season. I’m sure they will be at their very best on January 2.”

Georgia could send their seniors out with 40 career wins, with the victory on January 2.

Bulldogs Place Three On Coaches All-SEC List

The 2015 season might not have gone according to plan for the Georgia Bulldogs, however for three individual players their accomplishments were noticed. They are senior offensive tackle John Theus, junior linebacker Leonard Floyd and sophomore safety Dominick Sanders.

Theus was the only Georgia player to get first team honors. Floyd and Sanders picked up second team spots.

SEC Champion Alabama lead the way in representatives, with 10.

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