Saban Addresses Offseason Matters

Alabama head Football Coach Nick Saban addressed some recent off-season issues Thursday afternoon, speaking briefly with the media after hosting a $10,000 per team golf tournament at NorthRiver Yacht Club to benefit his Nick's Kids charity.

Saban's contract with Alabama, the richest in college football, was approved Thursday while Saban sat on hole 17 hitting a tee shots on the Par 3 with each group that came through.

"I think the university did everything exactly like you would like for them to do," Saban said. "Everybody did their due diligence and we appreciate (University) President (Robert) Witt in his role and what he did and all the other people in the University community that made all this happen. We look forward to trying to build something special for the state of Alabama and the people at the university of Alabama."

Saban has become accustomed to being the buzz of the state, and oftentimes of national media as the follow his every move. One recent report even cited United States President George W. Bush ribbing U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, from Tuscaloosa, about Saban's contract, including some incorrect information about how it must be costing taxpayers of Alabama a lot of money.

"President Bush, we had the opportunity to meet him when we won the national championship and we had the opportunity to go to the White House, and he was very cordial," Saban said. "He came to South Florida last year when we had camp. We had practice, and he invited me to go to dinner with him and I didn't miss practice to go to dinner. I hope he's not mad at me. We were just trying to take care of business first."

Saban also responded to a story in Thursday's Birmingham News, quoting the father of recently departed quarterback Jimmy Barnes as saying his son left because of the way Saban was "treating kids." John Barnes said Jimmy told Saban "he was not going to give up his dignity and be treated like that."

No such conversation took place, Saban said.

"I asked Jimmy before he left if he had any issues with the program," Saban said, "the way he was treated, or anything about being at the University of Alabama or the staff, and he said absolutely not, so I don't know where that came from.

"I don't know Jimmy's dad."

Saban also updated the progress of the recently signed Class of 2007. Two of those players, Jamar Taylor and Kareem Jackson, enrolled in January and participated in spring, while 17 others enrolled for the first session of summer school, leaving five of the 24 signees yet to enroll.

"Three we know will be here for sure, we think for sure, in July for second session," Saban said. "We just couldn't get the paper work done in time to get them here for second session."

Taylor, Saban said, was still with the team, but has "a situation at home we're helping him work through right now, and find however we can solve that best for him and for us.

I talked to his mother and we want to help him do what he needs to do for his family and if that can for us at the university of Alabama and for him then it will be good, and if it doesn't we'll help him do what he needs to do."

It was recently rumored that Taylor was considering transferring to South Florida.

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