Kirby Smart Says Jimbo Fisher Not Talking to Nick Saban Isn't 'Super Unusual'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 31, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Head Coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts on the sidelines in the second half during the game against the Michigan Wolverines in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart didn't find anything amiss upon learning how few interactions Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher have with each other.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Smart generally downplayed the war of words between Saban and Fisher, explaining how it's "not super unusual to me" for two coaches not to speak with each other:

Mike Rodak @mikerodak

Kirby Smart on Jimbo Fisher not talking to Nick Saban: “We don’t speak to each other, any of us. … They don’t call. I don’t call them. … It’s not commonplace for guys to be reaching out and be friendly when you compete on the field. … Not super unusual to me."

Aaron Suttles @AaronSuttles

Kirby Smart on Saban-Fisher: Sometimes things get heated. You should hear what’s said on the headsets. That makes this look like Mickey Mouse. You’d prefer it stay out of the public arena though.

Saban drew the ire of Fisher when the Alabama head coach said Texas A&M "bought every player on their team—made a deal for name, image, likeness."

Fisher and his coaching staff assembledthe No. 1 class in 247Sports' composite rankings for 2022, and it could be a historically significant group for the Aggies.

While Saban was clearly taking a shot across A&M's bow,he likely had a different intention behind his comments given his audience. He was speaking with local business leaders, the same ones who might need to arrange the kind of NIL deals that will help Alabama land the blue-chip recruits who regularly signed with the Crimson Tide in the pre-NIL era.

Whether Saban was largely attempting to send a message to his booster base was apparently irrelevant to Fisher. The Aggies head coach quickly arranged a press conference for the ages.

ESPN @espn

"Some people think they’re God … We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past, or anyone who’s ever coached with him, you can find out anything you wanna find out."<br><br>Jimbo Fisher didn't hold back after Nick Saban's comments about A&amp;M's recruiting practices. <a href="https://t.co/FVNaGD6uBX">pic.twitter.com/FVNaGD6uBX</a>

Fisher told reporters he didn't answer a call from Saban in the aftermath of the initial comments and added, "We're done."

Smart added a helpful perspective, though.

The 46-year-old was an assistant under Saban with the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and followed him to Alabama before finally taking the Georgia job in 2016.

In December, Smart said Saban "meant a lot in my career" and that he "had a tremendous time while I was at Alabama." Still, Smart added he and Saban "don't communicate daily or anything" and that maintaining an open line of communication is tough because of family and the time demands of their jobs.

Fisher's public broadside against Saban was surprising, but frosty relationships between rival coaches probably isn't all that uncommon. That's likely especially true in the SEC because of how competitive the conference is.

When you're competing to sign the same players on the recruiting trail and chasing the same on-field achievements, feeling any sort of camaraderie toward your peers might be tough.