Kirby Smart Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart looks on during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart and Ole Miss Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin will face off against each other for the first time as head coaches this week. But even though they’ll be competitors on the field, it’s clear that they have a lot of respect for each other.

Kirby Smart and Lane Kiffin got to know each other well during their time as coordinators under head coach Nick Saban at Alabama where Smart was the defensive coordinator and Kiffin was the offensive coordinator. It was during that time that Smart developed a respect for Kiffin as a coach.

“I have a lot of respect for Lane, I’ve told you that,” Smart said during his press conference according to On3. “He and I shared seats next to each other at Alabama for two years, I guess it was, maybe three. I don’t even know how long we were there together because it all runs together, but a lot of respect for him as a coach.”

Smart says that he has been able to learn some things from Kiffin and that they have a “good friendship” still today.

“He was a head coach at a really young age. He taught me a lot of things about what he believes in being a head coach and doing it your way. He’s certainly had a unique experience in terms of the places he’s been able to work as a head coach, and he draws on that,” Smart said.

“There’s times we share ideas or GPS numbers or whatever, but there’s nothing outside of just a really good friendship and respect.”

It’s clear they have a strong relationship, but they’ll be competitors on Saturday.