Nick Saban doesn't see the value in satellite camps

Alabama football coach Nick Saban, pictured, was happy to welcome back former Crimson Tide graduate assistant Derrick Ansley as the team's new defensive backs coach. The hire was confirmed by Saban on Wednesday.
photo Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks during a news conference for the NCAA college football playoff championship Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 to win the championship. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
One day after Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said his program would be ready to participate in satellite camps if the opportunity arose, Alabama's Nick Saban offered his view.

"I'm not really thinking they have that much value," Saban said Wednesday night in a news conference. "What would be interesting to research is that, of the teams that have done them, what value did it serve and how many players did they get?"

The Crimson Tide held their 10th spring workout Wednesday. They will hold a light practice Friday before conducting their second scrimmage Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

While Smart talked Tuesday about moving forward should the NCAA continue to allow satellite camps and the Southeastern Conference no longer prohibit its members from holding them, Saban wondered aloud how last summer's satellite camp helped Michigan. The Wolverines traveled to Prattville, Ala., and wound up getting commitments from two Prattville players - running back Kingston Davis and linebacker Dytarious Johnson.

Davis signed with the Wolverines in February, but Johnson did not due to a transcript snag.

"They had some players commit to them, and I know some of those players decommitted," Saban said. "I know they even wanted to drop some of those players when they found out they could get better players. I love the system and the way we do it now, and if everybody has a satellite camp, then every player will have 62 camps to go to, and I don't know how that works.

"Our camp is not just a recruiting camp. It's a camp to promote and develop and help improve football players for their team, and I think we can do that a lot better here in a three-day camp than we can running all over the country doing satellite camps for recruiting purposes."

Michigan and Ohio State will hold Atlanta-area satellite camps in June, with the Wolverines also conducting one near Huntsville, Ala.

Two Crimson Tide defensive linemen who have been working all spring with the first team, Da'Shawn Hand and Dalvin Tomlinson, were ailing Wednesday. Hand was unable to finish the practice due to back spasms, while Tomlinson was sick.

Redshirt freshman guard Richie Petitbon tore his ACL in last Saturday's scrimmage and has undergone successful surgery in Birmingham. Petitbon was a top-five guard and top-100 overall prospect in the 2015 signing class according to Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com.

When asked how the quarterbacks performed in the first scrimmage, Saban said the two most experienced - Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell - played the best.

An A-Day plea

Alabama's A-Day spring game has produced three crowds in excess of 90,000 since Saban's arrival in 2007, and every recent A-Day crowd had surpassed 70,000 until last year's game had 65,175.

Saban said Wednesday that the spring game remains important to players and urged fans to turn out.

"It's something that we've been special at," Saban said, "and I think other people are trying to sort of copycat to make their game a big thing so they can say they had the most people at the spring game and all that. I think it's important that our fans show that they have just as much interest and enthusiasm for the program as they've ever had."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.