Notebook: UF says sorry to Saban


Florida coach Will Muschamp apologized to Alabama coach Nick Saban after UF offensive line coach Tim Davis referred to Saban as "the devil himself."

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer/File
Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 2:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 2:45 p.m.
SANDESTIN — Alabama coach Nick Saban said he's received apologies from both Florida coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley for offensive line coach Tim Davis' remark calling Saban “the devil himself” at a recent Gator Gathering in Melbourne. “Yeah,” Saban said, when asked before the start of Tuesday's SEC Spring Meetings if anyone from Florida has apologized to him. “Will and Jeremy — which I appreciated. I said right off the bat that this is not a reflection of the University of Florida, Will Muschamp or the program. “Really, it's nothing to get too upset about.” Joking during his Gator Gathering speech to UF fans, Davis, who coached under Saban with the Miami Dolphins and at Alabama, said it was much easier working with Muschamp than “the devil himself.”


Davis isn't the first coach in the SEC to compare Saban to the devil. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin referred to him as “Nick Satan” a year ago. He later apologized. “I was disappointed because when guys work for you, you have feelings for them,” Saban said Tuesday. “You hope they don't feel that way. If somebody did feel that way, I wish they'd tell me. I'm not trying to make anybody feel bad. “When you're in a position of leadership, sometimes you have to make people do things they don't want to do for the betterment of the program and to get them to do their job the way they need to. “I'm not directing that to anybody in particular. You may not like your boss when he tells you to do something you don't want to do.” Richt knows Muschamp's pain On the same night Davis made his devil remark, Muschamp made a fiery comment at a Gator Gathering in Jacksonville that riled up a lot of Georgia fans. Muschamp, who is 0-2 against his alma mater (Georgia), vowed that the Bulldogs' winning streak against the Gators would not be a very long one. Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday he understood where that comment was coming from. “That's what I would say,” Richt said. “I don't blame him for saying it. I said the same things. There's a lot of years Georgia didn't win that game while I was the head coach. “I know that's a very big hot topic and a tough one to deal with in the offseason especially.” ADs vote for primary hoops location At the end of Tuesday's meetings, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the 14 athletic directors voted unanimously to authorize the conference to explore a primary site for the men's basketball tournament. “We've been very successful with our permanent site in football in Atlanta and very successful with our permanent site in Hoover in terms of baseball,” Slive said. “The ADs felt it was time for us to explore the possibility of a primary site in basketball.” Slive emphasized that it would be a “primary” site and not necessarily a permanent site. Also in basketball, Slive said there was some conversation in Tuesday's meetings about future scheduling, especially the non-conference side of it. “The athletic directors agreed that all of our schools would submit their basketball non-conference schedule to the conference for review so we can take a look at those and help our institutions schedule in a way that will be beneficial not only to them, but to us.” Date in The Swamp for Bielema New Arkansas coach Bret Bielema's first season in the SEC will include a visit to The Swamp on Oct. 5. Although he's never been to Florida Field and he doesn't personally know Muschamp yet, Bielema said he's impressed with the job Muschamp is doing with the Gators. “Unbelievable,” Bielema said. “I've been a big fan of Will's just from afar. I've recruited Florida for a long time. I admire his background and what he's doing there. I'm familiar with a couple coaches on his staff and I know what they stand for. “Coach (Barry Alvarez) went down there and spoke at their coaches' clinic and said he was very impressed with their practice. For me, it starts there. You don't have many good teams that look great on Saturday that don't look good on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. “So, that's going to be a tremendous challenge on our schedule.” New safety rule Several coaches, including Bielema and Vanderbilt's Franklin, said they strongly support the new targeting rule that will lead to a player's ejection from a game if he leads with his head or initiates a helmet-to-helmet collision. “College football coaches and coaches in general have been hammering this home forever,” Franklin said. “Obviously the players, taking them off the field is a great way to modify behaviors. “Whatever we feel like is in the best interest of the student-athlete is going to be No. 1 with us. We want these kids to go on and be successful for the rest of their lives and not just over the next four years.”

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