When an Alabama player makes a mistake, there are always consequences.
After redshirt freshman defensive end LaMichael Fanning body slam tackled Missouri running back Russell Hansbrough last Saturday--and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct--Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban made him write a letter of apology to the player and Tigers’ head coach Gary Pinkel.
That kind of play was unacceptable and wasn’t something Saban condoned.
Wednesday morning during the SEC Coaches’ Teleconference, Saban was asked if Fanning would make the trip to Tennessee this week. The coach would not say if he had suspended him or not, but that the team is handling the punishment, meaning the repercussions won’t be coming from the SEC.
“We’re handling his poor judgment internally,” Saban said. “I think everybody is satisfied with what we’re doing. I don’t think it’s anybody else’s concern. This is a family matter and we’re handling it internally. We appreciate the fact that we are able to do that.
“Our emphasis with him is to learn from this experience, as well as all the players on our team to help them make better choices and decisions in the future. I don’t think everybody should be concerned about the punishment as much as the things that we’re trying to do to help the young man.”
Saban was then asked if he felt compelled to make Fanning write apologies because of his friendship with Pinkel, or if it was just the right thing to do.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I mean everybody makes mistakes. We all make mistakes. I make them. I think it’s just part of being human. But I do think that when you make a mistake and you make a poor decision, you have to A) understand the consequences and learn from them, and B) I also think there’s a right way to manage it and handle it and I thought that was the right thing for us to do this time around.
“I’m not happy that it happened, but certainly we’re trying to do the best we can to have everybody learn from the experience.”
Extra notes from Derek Dooley’s call-in:
--The Tennessee coach was asked if his players are “geeked up” to face the No. 1 team.
“I think every team that plays Alabama gets geeked up because they’ve been the standard in college football.”
--Dooley, who had surgery last week to repair a fractured hip, was asked if he’d be coaching from the sideline this week (he coached from the press box last week against Mississippi State).
“I don’t know right now,” he said. “I want to and will do everything I need to, but at the end of the day, we tell our players they gotta listen to the doctors, so I wouldn’t be a good example if I didn’t.”
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