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November 29, 2012

Alabama, Georgia ties run deep

A look at the various connections and storylines that make Saturday's Alabama-Georgia game a little more personal for those involved.

Ties that bind

Todd Grantham
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham served as UA coach Nick Saban's defensive line coach at Michigan State from 1996-1998. Saban and Grantham have exchanged glowing reviews of each other's coaching prowess during the practice week.

Will Friend
Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend played offensive guard at Alabama from 1993-1997, and was named All-Southeastern Conference with the Tide.

Kirby Smart
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart played at Georgia as a defensive back from 1995-1998, earning four letters and eventually becoming All-SEC. His 13 career interceptions rank fourth in UGA history. He coached Bulldogs running backs in 2005.

Chance Warmack
Alabama offensive lineman Chance Warmack will be playing in a sort of Homecoming as an Atlanta native. "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't special for me. My (high school) offensive line coach played for Georgia back in the day," Warmack said. Other UA players from the Atlanta area include linebacker Johnathan Atchison and defensive back Geno Smith.

Tide players from Georgia
Alabama has 17 players on its scholarship roster from the state of Georgia -- one fifth of its team -- including three expected to start Saturday. UA's Georgia natives include Blake Sims, Kenyan Drake, Chance Warmack, Johnathan Atchison, Geno Smith, Adrian Hubbard, Dillon Lee, Kurt Freitag, LaMichael Fanning, Xzavier Dickson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Brandon Greene, Kellen Williams, Austin Shepherd, Brian Vogler, Dakota Ball and Adam Griffith.

Mark Beard
Georgia has one player on its scholarship roster from the state of Alabama: Offensive lineman Mark Beard of Adamsville, who signed with UGA out of Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

Lee brothers
Georgia starting offensive lineman Dallas Lee is the older brother of Alabama freshman linebacker Dillon Lee. Both are from Buford, Ga.

Murray and Ely
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Alabama backup quarterback Phillip Ely were teammates at Tampa Plant High. Ely succeeded Murray as the starter at Plant, and the two made three state title appearances between them.

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