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January 21, 2013

Saban: Time better spent on players than recruits

MOBILE | An NCAA rule that had placed restrictions on how much text messaging coaches could engage in with recruits has been lifted, giving Nick Saban and other coaches more freedom to make contact with the next big star.

But the University of Alabama coach doesn't sound as though the clearance will necessarily mean big changes in how his staff's time is prioritized.

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"I think it's always important to be able to communicate. I think it's a fine line between how much you need to communicate and be effective at doing it, how much attention someone really needs to get and when it should start," Saban said. "I think we all have to be conscious that we have a responsibility and obligation to have time and attention to the team we have on campus right now."

Saban said the returning UA team will begin its weight lifting program today, and the goals in place for the offseason development program must get their due attention.

"I'm not just concerned about recruiting the next player, I'm concerned about the guys that we've already recruited, making sure they're doing all the things they need to do to be successful personally, academically, athletically," Saban said. "To balance that, I think the rules should reflect that."

Saban made his annual visit to the Monday practice of Senior Bowl week at Fairhope Stadium, posing for a photograph with the Crimson Tide players on hand for the workout. The coach had an extended chat with outgoing Oregon coach Chip Kelly during practice and signed autographs before leaving.

Among the other actions by the NCAA will be various deregulations, including changes to its enforcement and infractions policy. NCAA president Mark Emmert discussed the revisions as a means of streamlining the NCAA manual and repairing the image that it is overly cumbersome.

"Some of our rules are counterintuitive, outdated and just unenforceable," Emmert said. "They don't make sense in the world we live in. We are refocusing on the things that really matter."

Quotable

"I'm excited for Chip. He's done a fantastic job and has been a real innovator in college football with some of the things he's done. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the great job that he did at Oregon, in terms of the kind of program and the record and success he's had there." - UA coach Nick Saban on Chip Kelly's departure from Oregon to the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles

Senior Bowl notes

UA offensive lineman D.J. Fluker became one of the first two fourth-year junior invites to the Senior Bowl, and weighed 355 pounds at the morning weigh-in, attended by hundreds of NFL scouts and coaches. Fluker did not participate in practice, however, and won't play because of minor injuries. ... Other UA players on the South roster include long snapper Carson Tinker, safety Robert Lester, linebacker Nico Johnson and tight end Michael Williams. Williams made several impressive catches against man coverage during drill work, most coming from South quarterbacks E.J. Manuel of Florida State, and Landry Jones of Oklahoma ... There are 23 players on the South roster from Southeastern Conference schools. Among the players who stood out at practice were Georgia's Tavarres King, Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton, LSU's Lavar Edwards and Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton. ... UA LB Nico Johnson said he had interviews scheduled with four NFL clubs Monday night, including the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens.

TideSports.com Recruiting: Insider notes

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.



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