Saban questions benefit of traveling for spring practice

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Nick Saban

Alabama coach Nick Saban said he likes having spring practice at home and isn’t sure what benefits come from taking your team on the road.

Saban appeared Friday morning on "The Dan Patrick Show" and was asked about Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to take the Wolverines to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for the first week of spring practice during spring break.

That decision drew the ire of the SEC and ACC commissioners and criticismand praise — from some coaches.

“I don’t really know a lot about Michigan and their program,” Saban told show host Dan Patrick. “I think everybody’s got to make decisions that they feel best for what they need to do in their program. I don’t think when people designed the rules that they designed the rules to take your team someplace else and have spring practice during spring break. There’s a lot of good people in a lot of good places in the NCAA that will decide if that’s something we should or shouldn’t do. Whatever they decide we’ll kind of roll on.

“We love having spring practice right here in Alabama. There’s a lot of people that have a lot of interest here. Our players certainly … it doesn’t disrupt their schedule, their class time. And they get a lot out of it and have a lot of fun.”

Patrick asked Saban if, from his time as Michigan State head coach, it is difficult to recruit in the south and against the SEC, and if he understands Harbaugh’s decision for spring break and satellite camps.

Harbaugh's southern 'Swarm Tour' adds another camp

“I get it,” Saban said. “But I’m not sure anybody really knows the value of doing some of these things whether it’s having off-campus camps all over the place. If everybody has one, then how do the kids really decide where they go and where they don’t go? How much of a benefit really is it? The same thing with this. Nobody really knows how big a benefit it is. I mean, what’s the value for what they do? But that’s for everybody to decide on their own. I basically like focusing on the way we do it and I’m not too worried about what somebody else is trying to do.”

It was jokingly suggested Saban take the Crimson Tide to Ann Arbor or Columbus for a few days.

“First of all, most of our team would be shocked by the weather, so that’s not something they would really relish doing,” he said. “Those are nice places. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan State, and there’s a lot of good people there, and we have a lot of good relationships there, but I’m not sure it’s something our players would look forward to. I don’t know what the benefit of that would be, either.”

Twitter @chengelis