Patterson: Kirby Smart brought relentless mentality to Georgia


While red and white confetti showered down on the turf following Georgia's 33-18 victory over conference rival Alabama in the CFP championship game on Monday, head coaches Kirby Smart and Nick Saban spoke near midfield. After an embrace, with cameras surrounding them, microphones picked up Saban bluntly telling Smart, "You guys kicked our ass in the fourth quarter."

The Smart-Saban relationship is well-chronicled. Smart served as a defensive assistant for Saban in 2006, when he was head coach of the Miami Dolphins. One year later, Smart joined another Saban staff, and ultimately won four titles as the defensive coordinator for Alabama. Georgia didn't only snap its 41-year championship drought -- Smart also earned his first win over his mentor.

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"The one word that goes between them is relentless. And it starts at the very beginning of the process, that relentless approach to recruiting," CBS Sports college writer Chip Patterson told The DA Show on Tuesday. "When it comes to the Saban programs and the coaches who are really using that recruiting playbook, then recruiting is a part of every single meeting... It's a relentless approach to recruiting that made Saban have No. 1 class after No. 1 class.

"And that's why Smart, when he arrived at Georgia, took a program that was recruiting at a very high level -- I mean, you're in Georgia, so there's a built-in advantage there -- but really turned the Bulldogs into a top-three recruiting powerhouse... You bring in the biggest players with the most size, the most speed, the most NFL talent, and teach them a mentality of just absolutely physically overwhelming your opponent."

When the two teams met in the SEC championship back in early December, Georgia's top-ranked defense was ineffective. They allowed Heisman winner Bryce Young to throw for 421 yards and three touchdowns, and failed to sack him once in a 41-24 loss. On Monday, however, the Bulldogs channeled their old mojo, sacking Young four times, limiting him to just one touchdown, and forcing two interceptions -- one being a game-clinching pick-six.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett also delivered big-time throws midway through the fourth quarter. Trailing by five with 8:09 remaining, he connected with receiver Adonai Mitchell for a miraculous 40-yard score in the end zone, and five minutes later, he orchestrated another monstrous drive, hooking up with star tight end Brock Bowers for a 15-yard touchdown off a screen pass. Overall, Bennett completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards with no turnovers.

The entire Georgia-Alabama conversation between Patterson and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.

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