Nick Saban spoke publicly on Friday about Jim Harbaugh's Michigan spring practice road trip to the IMG Academy in Florida this year, and the Alabama head coach didn't pass judgment against Harbaugh. But he also didn't endorse the idea.
Saban joined The Dan Patrick Show for a pretty interesting interview:
This year, Harbaugh decided to move a week of Michigan spring ball to Bradenton, Fla., where IMG has established a high school football powerhouse. The Wolverines faced stringent recruiting restrictions while they were there, but the trip was still a pretty clear spectacle designed to win the attention of that state and school's many blue-chip recruits.
Saban doesn't seem interested in doing anything of the same ilk with Alabama. Via 247Sports:
"I don't really know a lot about Michigan and their program," Saban said. "I think everybody's gotta make decisions that they feel are best for what they need to do in their program. I don't think when people designed the rules they didn't design the rules to take your team someplace else and have spring practice during spring break.
"But there's a lot of good people and a lot of good places and the NCAA will decide whether that's something that we should or shouldn't do. And whenever 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. Our players, it doesn't disrupt their schedule, their class time, and we get a lot out of them and have lots of fun."
Saban raises legitimate questions about the value of a trip like Michigan's. It certainly grabs a lot of headlines -- we've written plenty ourselves about the practices and what they mean -- but it's not yet clear how big an effect the trip will have have on Michigan's recruiting or on-field progress heading into next season.
"Yeah, I get it," Saban said. "But I'm not sure that 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?
"And how much of a benefit really is it? And 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 someone else is trying to do."
But Saban just won another national championship and then signed his sixth straight No. 1 overall recruiting class, so his lack of interest in Michigan's spring practice planning is probably quite genuine. Ohio State's might be less so.