After nine seasons as an assistant coach at Alabama, Kirby Smart takes on the challenge of succeeding Mark Richt as Georgia’s head football coach.

For the Georgia graduate, the 2016 season will be his first season to lead a college football program.

During his appearance on Inside the Locker Room, former Georgia head football coach Jim Donnan surveyed the landscape for Georgia football under Smart and the challenges that await him as an SEC head coach.

Donnan highlighted an area of Smart’s background that could help him overcome the learning curve as a rookie head coach in the SEC.

“The one thing that Kirby (Smart) has over anybody that would take over a job in the SEC as an assistant coach who’s never been a head coach is he has a really good background here.” Donnan said.

Smart played at Georgia from 1995-1998, was an administrative assistant at Georgia for Jim Donnan during the 1999 season and was the running backs coach for Mark Richt in 2005.

Donnan touched on the elements facing Georgia’s new head coach including implementing a coaching staff and building relationships with players that Mark Richt recruited.

With kickoff for Georgia’s season opener against North Carolina less than two months away, the former Georgia coach pointed to pass defense as an area of concern for the 2016 Bulldogs.

“We’ve had trouble playing the ball in the air regardless of who the team’s been. We don’t play the ball in the air, and that’s one thing I’m hoping that Coach (Mel) Tucker and Coach (Kirby) Smart are going to do a better job for us, and a lot of that starts with the pass rush. We got to get a lot better pass rush.” Donnan said.

Catch Inside the Locker Room every weekday from 7-9 AM on Tide 102.9 and the radioPup app.