TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It’s a tricky topic, and Alabama football coach Nick Saban answered the question carefully.
He didn’t say he is in favor of expansion of the Southeastern Conference. He also didn’t offer opposition.
Saban only passed along his experience in a previous job in a different league that took on a new member. Though he wasn’t at Michigan State when Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1990, Saban felt the impact when taking the Spartans’ head job in 1995.
“When Penn State came into the league, there were all kinds of naysayers,” Saban said. “ Why would we let a team as good as Penn State into the league? It’s going to mess up the balance of the league. And all of these different negative things that people had to say about it. And the fact of the matter is, Penn State opened up the whole East to the Big Ten.”
So recruiting benefited from wider borders.
“We could never get a player anywhere in the East at Michigan State before Penn State got into the league,” Saban said. “It became one of our best faraway recruiting places, all the way from the Tidewater, where Plaxico Burress was from, or Julian Peterson from Washington, D.C., all the way up to Philadelphia, all the way to New York City and New England because the Big Ten got a tremendous amount of exposure in the East, which they never got before.”
Ultimately, Saban said he would be fine with a decision the league makes either way.
High on Clinton-Dix
As one of the top recruits nationally, defensive back Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix came to Alabama with big-time expectations.
His ego, however, remains in check. That’s the word from Saban, who works intensely with the secondary.
“He is the most pleasant, upbeat, smile-on-his-face-all-the-time, easy-to-coach guy that wants to learn that we’ve probably had around here in a long time,” Saban said. “I mean, he’s really got a great disposition about doing it, and I think that’ll help him in the long run.”
Geno Smith of St. Pius X High School in Atlanta reportedly chose the Tide over Auburn. Ranked fourth among cornerbacks by Rivals.com and seventh by Scout.com, Smith would be a large catch for Alabama.
Senior cornerback DeQuan Menzie (Carver High) and junior cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick keep popping up on mock drafts, so there could be an immediate need filled if Smith signs.