Ralph Russo: Harbaugh Not Afraid Of Saban

Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh have feuded seemingly all offseason about satellite camps, and this week has been no different. Saban, who believes satellite camps are bad for college football, said Tuesday that he does not take Harbaugh’s words personally, but he also doesn’t really care what Harbaugh thinks or says.

Is this verbal sparring good for college football, or is this an example of two millionaires acting like babies and needing to grow up?

“I think it’s fun,” AP college football writer Ralph Russo said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “As somebody who’s around college coaches a lot, guys tend to be incredibly guarded and don’t show a whole lot of personality and are very wary and leery of offending each other – even if you know they don’t like each other, even if you know they don’t like the way each other does business. I think it’s somewhat refreshing to actually see Harbaugh, the way he conducts business, which is basically, ‘If you come after me, I’m coming after you. Don’t come messing with my business.’

“So, listen, does it really matter?” Russo continued. “No. I think it’s kind of fun. I think it’ll make for some fun stuff if Michigan and Alabama ever meet in a playoff game. It gives a little fuel to that fire for sportswriters like me. I think it makes for some interesting copy. I think it’s on one hand kind of refreshing, on one hand kind of fun in a part of the business that tends to be kind of stodgy. Quite frankly, the satellite camp stuff, in general, that debate has to stop. I think we’ve had enough of that.”

Harbaugh insists that SEC schools oppose satellite camps because it could negatively impact their recruiting. Saban, meanwhile, fears that rules violations could occur quite easily at these camps, which he said would not be in the best interest of college football. Harbaugh then took to Twitter, saying it’s “Amazing” to him that “Alabama broke NCAA rules & now their HC is lecturing us on the possibility of rules being broken at camps.”

Neither coach, it seems, is backing down.

“I definitely think they are standing on the opposite sides of this issue,” Russo said. “They are passionately standing on the opposite sides of this issue. I don’t know if Saban and Harbaugh have ever had a conversation, and considering where each other has worked, they may have never come across each other. I’ll steal a line that a friend of mine who also covers college football (said): I am very confident that if Harbaugh and Saban were in the same room together, Harbaugh would say the same things right in front of Saban. I think this is genuine from Harbaugh in that he defends himself and he likes to defend himself and his program publicly, and he believes I am not breaking any rules by doing this, so please don’t call me out on this and worry about your own darn team.”

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