But Ford does have hands-on, professional coaching experience. In 2018 and ’19, he worked for the Washington Football Team and then the Cleveland Browns as a defensive assistant through the Bill Walsh Diversity Fellowship program.
Ford confirmed that he was interviewed by Smart on Thursday for Georgia’s DBs coach vacancy.
“I can’t say much about it, really; it was just a normal interview,” Ford said. “I don’t know if I’ll get the job or anything like that. I don’t think they’ve made a decision, and I don’t know their timetable.”
Georgia is seeking a replacement for Charlton Warren, who served as the secondary coach the past two seasons. Warren resigned earlier this month to become defensive coordinator at Indiana.
Ford and Smart know each other exceptionally well. They both signed with the Bulldogs in the 1994 recruiting class, Ford out of Carver High in Columbus and Smart out of Bainbridge, then played together the next five years. Their high school teams played each other often
“I’ve known Kirby since I was 13 years old,” Ford said. “We used to go to a lot of camps together even before we went to Georgia.
Ford has known one person at Georgia even longer. He and run-game coordinator Dell McGee grew up in the same neighborhood in Columbus, where they played rec ball together and later attended the same high school. McGee is two years his elder.
“I’ve built up a lot of relationships, through football and iDareU,” Ford said. “That’s why I don’t think the recruiting part would be that hard for me.”
Ford is one of several interviews Georgia has conducted for its secondary coach, which attracted dozens of applications. Other potential candidates include Marcus Woodson of Florida State, Doug Belk of Houston and Charles Clark of Memphis. The Bulldogs had been in contact with former Texas assistant Jay Valai, a former quality-control assistant at UGA, but Valai was hired Thursday to be cornerbacks coach at Houston.
Another potential candidate came off the board Friday. South Florida assistant Jules Montinar, who was a defensive analyst at UGA under Smart, accepted the DBs job for Dan Mullen at Florida.
In the meantime, Smart has brought on former South Carolina coach Will Muschamp in some sort undefined consultant’s role. Muschamp has been working inside Georgia’s Butts-Mehre football complex all day every day this week. However, UGA said Muschamp – who is owed at least $13 million from his buyout at South Carolina, is not currently on the payroll.