DESTIN-Fla. – This much can be said for the satellite camp issue: It’s given everybody something to talk about while actual football is still months away from happening.
For instance: LSU coach Les Miles was asked Wednesday what he thought about other school bringing satellite camps to Louisiana.
“If I could, we’d hoist small-caliber weapons,” Miles said.
This quip came a day after Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh tweeted out a shot at Alabama’s Nick Saban over satellite camps, and one day before Saban’s protégé Kirby Smart, now Georgia’s coach, is scheduled to co-host a camp with – of all people – Harbaugh.
Satellite camps have gone from seemingly dead, back in April when the NCAA temporarily outlawed them, to the hot topic of this summer. They’ve certainly dominated SEC meetings, when apparently they were discussed quite often behind closed doors.
The conference remains very much against it, from commissioner Greg Sankey, to Saban and others. And as they begin happening in earnest this week, everyone still seems to be figuring out how to handle them.
Smart, as he left Destin for the airport on Wednesday afternoon, claimed he was still figuring out which ones he would be at personally. Right now Georgia is scheduled to be at around 10 camps.
“If Georgia is coming, there’ll be a coach there representing Georgia. It won’t always be me,” Smart said on Tuesday.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn won’t be going to any camps. He won’t be alone: Miles, after meeting with his peers, summed it up this way: “There’s some guys that will not travel. And there’s some guys that will travel minimally. And there’s some guys that will travel more excessively.”
Miles will not be in the latter category, and thinks most in the league share the same reservations. Why? Going to these satellite camps take away from being around your own team.
“I think in this league there’s more concern with your team, and being on campus, having team meeting, describing academics, describing how you’re living your life, who are you, life skills,” Miles said. “I think there’s a very consistent theme in this conference that we have a very lucrative recruiting area. We don’t have to traipse all across the country to get quality players. We just want to serve them better, and best.”
There’s another reason for coaches to be wary: Logistics.
Smart, speaking on Tuesday, said he had the first week planned out, as far as which coaches would go to which camps. But Georgia’s staff has also been trying to verify which recruits would be at certain camps, which affects whether Smart will go, and which of his assistants will be there.
“There’s a lot of misinformation,” Smart said. “Because a lot of the satellite camps are advertising that this kid’s coming to my camp, this kid’s coming to my camp, and we’re trying to find out from the kid where you’re actually going. Which is a challenge, as you guys know, when you’ve tried to follow these guys.”
Much of Georgia’s strategy appears to be reactive, in the sense that it’s responding to high schools that want to have Georgia’s name on their satellite camp. While Smart said he or his assistants would be at “some” camps that are out-of-state, there appears to be no effort yet to invade another recruiting area, a la Harbaugh and Michigan.
That also appears to be SEC-wide: Schools are not encroaching on each other’s territory, at least as far as these camps.
“It didn’t really appear to me that there was that significant issue there in any way,” Miles said.
Miles and Harbaugh, by the way, are fellow Michigan graduates. So Miles was asked Wednesday what he thought of Harbaugh’s Twitter volley at Saban.
“Yeah, I gotta be real honest with you. I don’t read a lot of Twitter, and am not really significantly informed,” he said. “I’ll stay left or right of this one.”