Most of today’s column, inspired by the Maurice Smith transfer situation, is fairly inoffensive and even, by Barnhart’s standards at least, challenging, as far as Greg Sankey goes.
But then he has to go and end it with this:
Here’s one final point: It is not good for the SEC to have a narrative out there that two of its coaches – Nick Saban and Kirby Smart – are having some kind of turf war of mentor vs. pupil. I know the talk-radio fans find it highly entertaining. But it is bad for the SEC.
Mike Slive had to intercede in 2009 between Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin when those two boys were getting a little too frisky in public. I would suggest that Sankey put in a call to Saban and Smart with the simplest of messages: “This ends now.”
What, pray tell, is “this”, exactly? Neither coach has called the other out in public by name, or questioned the other’s transfer practices. (To a large extent, that’s because with regard to non-graduate transfers, they’re both the same.)
The edgiest things have gotten between the two is that Smart has come out for allowing graduates to transfer freely, but even there, he’s avoided direct criticism of Saban about the Black transfer from Alabama or the Pappanastos transfer to Alabama, both of which are easy targets. If that’s as bad as it gets, then perhaps Mr. CV should offer a brief smack down of Bert for publicly backing Saban’s approach.
To compare what’s gone on in this case with the sniping we saw between Corch and Junior is, frankly, a bit insulting to both Saban and Smart, about whom the worst anyone can say is that when it comes to each other, they’re competitive. In my book, that’s a long way from outright contempt.
Then again, you can’t be conventional if you can’t wallow in a little “both sides do it” when you think it’s needed. I’m sure the parties involved will give Barnhart’s advice the attention it deserves.