Saban would rather be recruiting

DESTIN, Fla. -- No recent legislation in college football has rankled Alabama coach Nick Saban any more than the rule preventing head coaches from going on the road recruiting during the spring evaluation period.

Saban was peeved when the rule was passed a few years ago, wondering out loud if the coaches who were willing to go the extra mile were being penalized because of those who wanted to stay at home during the spring.

Well, he’s still peeved.

Asked at the SEC spring meetings about his offseason regimen and how it’s changed over the years, Saban pounced on the question. It didn’t take him long, either, to reference the spring evaluation period.

“The only thing that changes my offseason regimen is during spring recruiting … now that we’re not allowed to do that,” Saban said. “That was something I really enjoyed doing. I liked going to watch practice. I liked watching guys. I think you promote high school football when you do that, but I also think you can always make a better evaluation of a player if you can see him first-hand. It’s sort of like the cross checks you would do in the NFL when you’re getting ready for the draft. You needed one person to see all the best players to figure out who 1-2-3-4-5 was, and that’s what I used to do in the spring and I enjoyed doing that. I really did.

“But now not being able to do that, you have a little bit more time, a little bit more speaking [engagements]. So I have time to do more things that I don’t enjoy as much.”

Saban joked that he does go to his Lake Burton vacation home in Georgia “whenever [wife] Mrs. Terry wants to go … whether I was spring recruiting or not. If she wants to go, I go. So there was no effect on that.”

As he has several times now, Saban emphasized that Alabama would be his last coaching stop.

In talking about his decision to leave Michigan State and the Big Ten for LSU and the SEC back in 2000, Saban said, “I think it’s always a difficult decision to leave any place and to go someplace else, and it’s a decision I’m never going to make again. I’m where I am. If they get a team at Lake Burton, then I might go there. But other than that, I’m where I’m at.”