Despite their recent public disagreement on graduate transfers, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart still has some kind words for Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel wrote that Saban has begun to show a softer, more human side over the last few seasons. The Georgia head coach and former Alabama assistant was one of the people quoted in the story. He said Saban’s intensity has toned down a lot since they first met.
“On a scale of one to 10,” Smart said, “(with 10 being) just out-of-control, just manic, all ball when I first got with him, I really feel like that’s toned down to an 8 or a 7.”
Saban deals with his assistants and his players in a different way than he once did. While he still presents the same hard-nosed facade to the media, Smart said the Crimson Tide coach is more vulnerable with his teams today.
“He was more emotional with those last three or four teams,” Smart said. “The one that won it with A.J. (McCarron) and C.J. (Mosley) down in Miami (in 2012). That was a team that was really emotional. He got emotional with Blake Sims’ group (in 2014). You hear it in his voice, where, when I go back to the first years, and even LSU, there was never that emotional side. He would never let a team see that, where he choked up a little bit.”
Saban hasn’t budged on the graduate transfer issue, refusing to allow DB Maurice Smith to go to Georgia or any other SEC school. But the conflict doesn’t seem to have affected the personal relationship between the two coaches.