Georgia Bulldogs, Tennessee Vols anything but strangers on football field

Georgia photo by Al Eckford / Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt shares a laugh with Georgia counterpart Kirby Smart before last season's game in Athens.

Saturday night's college football matchup between No. 3 Georgia and Tennessee inside Neyland Stadium could easily be named the "Familiarity Bowl."

"I've coached there, and I've coached against them several times," second-year Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said last week.

Georgia counterpart Kirby Smart has never coached at Tennessee, but he has faced the Volunteers annually since 2007.

Pruitt and Smart arrived at their first head-coaching locales via the same route - as respected Alabama defensive coordinators under Nick Saban. Smart led Alabama's defense from 2008 to '15, with Pruitt serving as the secondary coach in the national championship seasons of 2011 and '12, and Pruitt became Saban's coordinator for the 2016 and '17 seasons.

Half of Tennessee's 10 full-time assistants worked at Georgia earlier this decade: offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, offensive line coach Will Friend, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer and tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer.