ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia coach Kirby Smart admitted as much Wednesday that he’s not hesitant to reach out to other coaches to talk about the intricacies of being a coach at football’s highest levels.
Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn is one such example.
“He’s a guy that I lean on,” Smart said at the Bulldogs’ pro day. “I think he’s a really bright guy. He’s been around some really good coaches, with coach (Nick) Saban and coach (Pete) Carroll. So he’s been around some good ones. He brought it up, talked about how much easier the second year was for him transition wise, just being comfortable with some of the decisions you have to make.”
Smart enters his second season as Georgia coach this fall after going 8-5 in 2016; Quinn helped the Falcons reach the Super Bowl this past season after going 8-8 in his first year as coach in 2015.
Smart says that he values his conversations with Quinn and that he trusts him, given his experience, particularly under coaches like Saban and Carroll.
Smart and Quinn previously worked together for one season, in 2006, as assistants under Saban with the Miami Dolphins. Smart was the safeties coach and Quinn was in his second season as defensive line coach.
Smart even said he recalls Quinn’s style of coaching, which seems to have gone at least relatively unchanged since then.
“Passion and energy,” Smart said. “He was one of the most exciting position coaches that you could ever be around. When it comes to defensive line play and defensive ends, he was always high energy on the practice field, getting them going.”
When Smart was hired by Georgia in December 2015, he said Quinn reached out to him. The Falcons’ team facility in Flowery Branch is in close proximity to Athens.
Quinn was among the NFL team officials for all 32 clubs, including the only head coach. Overall, the Falcons had the largest team contingent there with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, assistant general manager Scott Pioli and 10 more staff members also in attendance.
Quinn left Georgia’s indoor practice facility where the pro day was being held before he could be reached for comment Wednesday.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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