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ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Kirby Smart on Auburn, Saban, and his future

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Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart speaking Friday to media covering the upcoming BCS National Championship game. (photo source WBRC) Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart speaking Friday to media covering the upcoming BCS National Championship game. (photo source WBRC)
MIAMI (WBRC) -

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart appeared Friday before reporters covering the BCS Championship game.  It was a required appearance as part of the "process" of promoting the game.  It was also the first time Smart had spoken to reporters publicly since interviewing for a head coaching position at Auburn University.

Smart did not reveal much detail about the interview, but did say the interview process "went great."

"I respect the University of Auburn and the opportunity they gave me to interview and talk to them," Smart said. "I thought the interview process went great... found out things I needed to know, and I'm sure they found out things they needed to know. As far as any of the other stuff, I'll just leave that to us and them."

Smart says his years as an assistant coach under head coach Nick Saban have better prepared him for his future than if he had worked for someone else.

"My development to become a head coach will be much better working for Coach Saban than necessarily going somewhere else because you learn every day that you're in there," Smart said. "He does a great job of quality control of the entire organization, what could we have done differently, and I think sometimes when you go other places that don't have the same support structure, you don't get those -- you don't get that same experience."

Smart says Saban is always challenging him and other coaches.

"Every day we do two-minute against each other, we come in, talk about clock management, what could we have done here? What should we have done there? He's questioning not only us why we did this in this situation, but he questions himself."

Smart says the biggest change he has seen in Saban during the past few years has been Saban's emphasis on the mental side of coaching.

"He goes deep into the mental side," Smart said. "He spends as much time on that as he does defensively now, and I think that is where he's grown as a coach, because I can remember being at LSU, I didn't remember the mental side being so great. And now six, seven years later, it's extended so far.

"He really believes in that, he believes in what you tell the players, he believes in the angle of approach of each game being different and getting their mindset right for the game. To me that's where he has established himself as a coach ahead of the curve because of his ability mentally to create an advantage with his team."

Smart says Saban's legacy will show him to be the most driven coach of all time.

"There is nobody I could put him up against anybody in the country," Smart said. "There is no question he is driven to be the greatest coach in the game."

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