Recruiting Talk Spices Up Press Conference

On the eve of Alabama Independence Bowl game against Colorado in Shreveport, Louisiana, with little hard sports news to speak of, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban addressed the issue of negative recruiting a day after Auburn's Tommy Tuberville apparently slung mud in Saban's direction.

With the final month of recruiting season fast approaching, Alabama's recruiting class is ranked fourth in the nation by while Auburn's class is ranked 26th. Clearly, Tuberville has never faced a better recruiter at Alabama since he has been at Auburn.

"There's a lot of negative recruiting out there about a lot of things," Saban said. "We try not to. That's not our way. We like to handle our business and that's not the way we go about it."

In a story in the Huntsville Times earlier this week, Tuberville said, "I don't worry about what Alabama does or Georgia or anybody else. I have no clue who they have committed. I can't control what they're doing. We work hard at recruiting. We've got good recruiters. We know who we want to recruit. Some we're going to get and some we're not going to get, but we're going to do it the right way and not end up on probation in a few years."

The story didn't make clear whether Tuberville's reference to Alabama and Georgia was unprompted or whether he was responding to a question about those schools specifically. The question Saban was asked Saturday was about negative recruiting in general, and did not refer to any specific school or event.

"I honestly don't know much about anybody else's program that I am qualified to be talking about it so we don't," Saban said on Saturday. "We have to deal with some of those things but who you are is more important than anything else."

Saban spoke to reporters at the Independence Bowl press conference as football fans began arriving in heavy numbers for Sunday's 7 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Both coaches were particularly complimentary of the bowl organizers and of the people of Shreveport, most of whom seem to care a great deal about. Saban extended a ‘thank you' to "everyone that has anything to do with this game and Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins said, "Everyone asks what's the best thing about Shreveport, it's the people."

"We have had a great time so far," Saban said. "The hospitality that we have received has been fantastic. Everybody has made us feel at home and very welcomed here. That's something that probably goes unnoticed a little bit, as I've said sometimes, in terms of how gracious everybody has been in making our stay extremely pleasant."

Saban described the Independence Bowl as "defining game" for Alabama seniors as well as the underclassmen.

"Every young player can send a message for what he wants to accomplish in the future as a football player at the University of Alabama as well as the kind of program and kind of team we want to have in the future at the University of Alabama," he said.

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