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By Paul Pabst

We had Alabama HBC Nick Saban on the show today. Dan asked coach about Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh bringing his squad to Florida a few weeks back for the purpose of, most think, recruiting in the South. Here’s the exchange:

DP: What was your take on Jim Harbaugh and Michigan going south for Spring Break?
Saban: I don’t really [know] about Michigan and their program. I think everybody’s gotta make decisions that they feel best for what they need to do in their program. I don’t think when people design the rules, that they design the rules to take your team someplace else and have spring practice during spring break. But there’s a lot of good people in a lot of good places in the NCAA that will [discuss] whether that’s something that we should or shouldn’t do. Whatever they decide we’ll kind of roll on. We love having spring practice right here at Alabama. There’s a lot of people that have a lot of interest here and this doesn’t disrupt our playrs’ schedule, their class time and we get a lot out of it, have a lot of fun. 

DP: But you understand what he’s doing? You were at Michigan State. I didn’t know how difficult it was to recruit in the South or in SEC Country.
Saban: Yeah, I get it… But I’m not sure that anybody really knows the value of doing some of these things. If everybody has one then how do the kids decide where they go or don’t go. How much of a benefit really is it? Nobody really knows how big a benefit it is. That’s for everybody to decide on their own. I basically like focusing on the way we do it. I’m not too worried about what somebody else is trying to do.

DP: Why don’t you just bring the team up to Ann Arbor or Columbus for a week or three-day weekend?
Saban: First of all most of our team would be shocked by the weather, so that’s not something that they would really relish doing. But those are all nice places, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Big 10. … But I’m not sure it’s something our players would look forward to and I don’t really know what the benefit of that would be.

That is classic Saban, softly telling those in power to look at tweaking the rules to not allow college coach road-tripping in the future. Harbaugh, to his credit, was down South for both recruiting and what SEC coaches do better than anyone, pot-stirring. Harbaugh has managed to create more headlines and social media jabs than wins in the past year. But he is winning the offseason. Michigan football is improved, but almost as important … the buzz around Michigan football is alive again due to the persona of its head coach.

I do wonder if the former Big Ten coach Saban somewhat admires what Harbaugh is doing. Saban told us that he isn’t on “the twitter” and doesn’t even text. He doesn’t need to …. yet. Being on top, he doesn’t need to create buzz or stir the college football pot …. he is the pot.



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