Pinkel OK with handling of Fanning tackle

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Wednesday there were no hard feelings over the dangerous pile-driver tackle that Alabama’s LaMichael Fanning planted on tailback Russell Hansbrough last Saturday.

Pinkel said he and Alabama coach Nick Saban have talked and that it was a case of a player simply making a mistake. Saban had Fanning write a letter of apology to Pinkel and Hansbrough.

“Nick called me, and we’re obviously friends,” said Pinkel, who played with Saban at Kent State. “Nick Saban doesn’t teach anything like that -- ever. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. I don’t think there was any malice involved. A player just lost emotional control and made a mistake. No one got hurt, and a lesson was learned. I thought Nick handled it appropriately.”

A 15-yard personal foul penalty was called on the play, but Fanning was not ejected.

Saban wouldn’t say Wednesday if Fanning would be suspended or whether he would make the trip Saturday to Tennessee.

"We’re handling his poor judgment internally in terms of what we’re doing, and I think everybody’s very satisfied with what we’re doing,” Saban said. "I don’t think it’s anybody else’s concern. This is a family matter. We’re handling it internally. We appreciate the fact that we are able to do that. Our emphasis with him is to learn from this experience as well as all the players on our team and to do things that help them make better choices and decisions in the future. I don’t think everybody should be concerned about the punishment as much as the things we’re trying to do to help the young man."

The decision on the severity of Fanning's punishment rests with Alabama, but the SEC league office has to sign off on that punishment.