Michigan, Alabama to work at same satellite camps

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jim Harbaugh shouts instructions at Michigan's satellite camp in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

A few days ago, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Alabama coach Nick Saban were taking shots at each other through social and mainstream media over satellite camps.

Saban compared the camps to the “wild, wild west.” Then Harbaugh responded on Twitter making reference to Alabama breaking rules and “now their HC is lecturing us” and a day later, called the comment hypocritical. Saban then responded and said he doesn’t care what “he thinks” or tweets.

And now? Well, now the two staffs will work camps on consecutive days, beginning with Old Dominion University’s “College Exposure” camp on Sunday at the ODU facility in Norfolk, Va., quarterbacks coach Ron Whitcomb announced Friday on Twitter.

The camp runs from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at ODU’s football complex and will also have coaches from Gardner-Webb University on hand.

And the next day, Michigan and Alabama staffers will be in Baltimore on Monday working the St. Frances Academy camp, coach Henry Russell also announced Friday through Twitter.

The camp begins at 1:30 p.m. at Patterson Park and will feature coaches from Syracuse, Navy, Penn, Towson and VMI. A Baltimore Sun article indicated the Michigan lacrosse and cheerleading coaches also will attend.

ODU coach Bobby Wilder told the Virginian-Pilot in an online story Friday that he heard from Alabama Thursday night and tried reaching Harbaugh by phone. The two didn’t connect until today.

“Like I always do, I asked the school we’re partnering with to get permission for another Power 5 school to attend,” Wilder told the paper. “Like he was with Wake Forest (also working the camp), he was fine with Alabama joining. He said, ‘It’s your camp, whatever you think is best for the kids is fine with us.’”

Wilder told the paper that because Alabama is hosting its camp this weekend, Saban may not be able to make the trip to Norfolk.

“The good news is that they’re coming,” Wilder told the Virginian-Pilot. “You’re talking about Old Dominion having the defending national champions on our campus. I don’t see how that doesn’t help Old Dominion football. It’s a positive for Old Dominion football and a positive for high school kids who will be attending this camp.”

The camp has nearly 300 players registered but that number could jump to 500, Wilder said.

The entire Michigan staff is expected to work the Baltimore camp, and at least five members of the Alabama staff will attend the camp co-hosted by UM.

Harbaugh receives warm welcome at Indianapolis camp

Harbaugh has been the biggest force in satellite camps this summer, all along drawing the ire of rival Southeastern Conference coaches. He has taken a shot at Georgia coach Kirby Smart on Twitter, and yet, they were able to co-exist at camps in Georgia on Thursday. Harbaugh also is expected to work with Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze at a camp in Mississippi, this after he lambasted Freeze for complaining about the time constraints of the camps during the April satellite camp debate.

But Saban carries the big stick in the SEC and during the conference’s spring meetings on Tuesday, he compared the camps to the “wild, wild west” and argued there’s “no specific guidelines to how we’re managing and controlling this stuff.”

The Harbaugh took to Twitter that night and posted: “Alabama broke NCAA rules & now their HC is lecturing us on the possibility of rules being broken at camps. Truly ‘amazing.’”

After Michigan’s camp stop on June 1 in Indianapolis, Harbaugh was asked about Saban’s comments.

“I was amazed. Were you amazed? Were you not amazed at that?” Harbaugh said. “How could you not find it amazing?”

When asked to explain why he found it amazing, Harbaugh said “it seemed hypocritical.”

Then Saban spoke to ESPN and said he doesn’t care about Harbaugh’s opinion.

“That’s his business. I don’t really care what he thinks or tweet,” Saban told ESPN on Wednesday. “I say what I think is best for college football and say what I think is best for the players and the kids. As I said (Tuesday), it’s not about him or anybody else.”


Twitter: @chengelis