… Smart said earlier this week that he expected to be back at Alabama next season. But on Tuesday, he didn’t completely shut the door on going back to his alma mater, either.
Richt has talked to Smart about the job, but Smart says there’s never been a formal offer.
“I haven’t really talked to Mark much,” said Smart, who was the Broyles Award winner as the top assistant coach in the country this year. “To say I said ‘no’ to Mark … he’s not offered me anything. So that’s not really accurate. To be honest, with this game coming up, I haven’t even thought about it.”
Smart admitted that you never say never in this business.
“You don’t ever know what’s going to happen, but I’m certainly excited about the opportunity to be back at Alabama,” Smart said. “We’ve got a lot of good players coming back.”
“I think it was pretty well known that there was an opportunity to return to my alma mater as defensive coordinator. I wouldn’t even have considered discussing the position with any other school, but when it is a place I’ve spent some of my best years and had some great memories, I thought it was something I should discuss with my family and figure out what was best…”
“Everybody just assumed I was given the raise later after I talked to schools,” Smart said. “But that wasn’t the case. Coach (Nick) Saban was very proactive in that he offered me a very substantial raise right after the Florida game.
“I always wanted to return to Alabama, and I felt that way all the way through the process.”
Smart said he spoke with a couple of teams by phone but ultimately never interviewed elsewhere.
Gee, Kirby, I wonder how anyone could have gotten the wrong impression about that.
Hey, look, more power to Smart – it’s hard to begrudge anyone the opportunity that presented itself to him in January. But he’s going to have a tough time convincing me that some feelers weren’t sent out in Richt’s direction about his possible interest in coming back to Athens as the DC. Remember that Richt was already in the midst of doing his due diligence on Grantham (hence Bud Foster’s interest in talking) and had already been used by a couple of candidates to enhance their bottom lines with their current employers when things appeared to get interesting with Smart. The idea that Richt would stick his neck out like that again with a guy who “always wanted to return to Alabama” seems unlikely.