Maybe it was just a bit of gamesmanship from the defending national champion. Maybe it was a bit of good-natured ribbing of his old defensive coordinator. Or maybe Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is just a big Bo Nix guy.

Tuesday, at the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin, Florida, Smart was asked about opening against a team as talented as the Oregon Ducks and about getting to see former Auburn quarterback and likely Duck starter Bo Nix one more time.

“I’d love to have an opener of that caliber (every year),” Smart said of the Ducks, per The Oregonian’s James Crepea.

“(Nix)’s a great athlete. Probably one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen at quarterback in terms of GPS numbers, speed, overall athleticism. He’s grown, from being a freshman that was thrown in there to playing under multiple coordinators and going back to a coordinator he’s familiar with should make him comfortable. He’s very talented. We had a lot of draft picks on defense last year and we struggled to get him on the ground. A tremendous player.”

To be fair, Georgia, led by then-defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, did sack Nix five times during a 34-10 win over the Tigers last season. But Smart is pretty familiar with Nix at this point in the quarterback’s career. Nix has faced Georgia and Smart three times, averaging 213 yards a game through the air while completing 56% of his throws with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The point about Nix’s work with different coordinators is one worth highlighting. As a freshman in 2019, Nix worked with current Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham. Chad Morris took over the offense in 2020. Mike Bobo was at the controls in 2021.

Dillingham’s presence on Lanning’s first staff at Oregon was a factor in Nix’s decision to transfer. The two worked well together last time, with Nix winning the SEC Freshman of the Year award.

The Ducks and Bulldogs face off in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sept. 3 to open the season. Nix will look to pick up his first win against the Bulldogs in his first game with his new teammates.