Georgia Football has been compared to Alabama since Kirby Smart has taken over. That’s a natural comparison. Kirby Smart was at Alabama when they were at the peak of their powers. But many have said that Smart has built his program the exact same way Saban built Alabama. That is where they are wrong.
Smart did not build the Georgia Football program 100% like Saban built Alabama. Smart added his own influences to the Georgia program. Some influences Smart used were already around the Georgia football program, the Mark Richt influence. There is also a connection between Smart and Richt, surprisingly it is not Smart’s one year in 2005 that’s the link. The link is Bobby Bowden.
We all know about Richt’s time as the QB coach and Offensive Coordinator for the Noles. But many people forget that Smart was at FSU as a grad assistant from 2002 and 2003. FSU was slowly coming down from their run of dominance in the 90s when Smart was a GA under Bowden. FSU was just two years removed from their second national title and still a player in the national championship conversion. What Bowden built during his time at FSU is something truly incredible and is the opposite of how Saban built Alabama.
Bowden pillars of his football program were Faith, Family, and Football. The three F’s as he called them. Bowden made sure that there was always a family-like connection between his players, that was the culture at FSU.
Saban had his; The Process. I am sure we are all familiar with the process. But has nothing to do with connection. I am sure Saban and Alabama players and staff would say they are like family, but again it is not a pillar. It’s not hard to say Smart took both of their pillars and made them into Georgia football pillars.
Smart has always talked about connection, something Smart has made sure of since the offseason after the 2020 season. You can see that it isn’t just lip service when Smart talks about connection because the players talk about it as well.
Beck and Lovett both mentioned connection as one of the reasons to be in Georgia, at a recent press conference. Furthermore, when players at SEC Media Day talk about it, it means that it is a real tangible thing.
So for all the detractors out there, Kirby Smart did not copy the Saban process (looking at you Bama fans). Smart took the parts of Bowden, Richt, and Saban and made their own. The Georgia way.