Smart doesn't completely rule out Georgia

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is going to start hearing his name at a lot of different places.

He’s emerged as that kind of coaching commodity and will almost certainly be in play for some head coaching gigs down the road.

The big question now: Would he go to Georgia next season as defensive coordinator?

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.”

In the end, this is one that could get interesting if Richt comes at Smart with the kind of money the Bulldogs did in trying to lure LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis, who had his deal sweetened at LSU after the Bulldogs offered him a three-year deal worth $600,000 per year.