This isn’t the first time Georgia coach Kirby Smart will face Alabama with big hype around the game. But it is the first time he will be the head coach for Georgia against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

At his Monday press conference, Smart had several things to say about Alabama and his former boss, Nick Saban, and the fact that former Saban assistants are 0-21 against him.

“Challenges to going back are playing a really good football team in a tough atmosphere,” he said. “They’ll have as many as they can have and it’ll be as loud as they can possibly make it. But in terms of going back, I don’t think I’ve been since I’ve been a head coach at Georgia. I don’t think I’ve been back. I don’t really remember.”

Smart was asked about the magnitude of the game being less because it’s not an SEC Championship, or national championship game, as the previous two meetings have been.

“The magnitude of every game is … huge, it’s the next game,” Smart said. “Probably in a season where you’re not playing out of conference games, every game is really important because you’re playing all SEC opponents. Obviously the magnitude of those last two we all know what they were and what they were for, so I can’t weigh the magnitude, it’s hard for me to compare those things because there’s not a game that I haven’t played in that the magnitude wasn’t great.”

The pre-game pep talk therefore isn’t imperative.

“I don’t think the players need motivating, I really don’t, not for this game in any scenario,” Smart said. “It’s (Nos.) 2 vs. 3, it’s Alabama versus Georgia, they realize what’s at stake so I don’t think it’s about the motivation. Again I don’t get into comparing the matchup, this one versus the other ones. Those teams have almost completely turned over.”

What has Smart learned from Saban?

“Focus on the task at hand, I thought he was always a master of that, not really having the highs and lows and emotional spells of a coach,” Smart said. “Focus on what’s important now.”

The Alabama offensive line is also in a class by itself.

“They’re just massive, I don’t know, even as good as the offensive lines we’ve had,” Smart said. “When you throw in Andrew (Thomas), Isaiah (Wilson), (Solomon Kindley) in the mix for us, those guys are big people, but these, they have a guard bigger than Solly. They’ve got tackles that are bigger than Andrew and Isaiah, especially with Evan (Neal). So it’s just a big group, they can swallow you up. They can move you, they can mash you. Leatherwood played against us in the national championship. He came and I thought he played really well in that game for a freshman.”