TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It doesn’t happen often, but television cameras caught a heated exchange between two Alabama players during Saturday’s 52-6 win over Southern Cal.
Alabama safeties Ronnie Harrison and Eddie Jackson had to be separated on the sideline late in the second quarter.
It took linebacker Reuben Foster, reserve safety Deionte Thompson and assistant coaches to keep the two apart. Even Alabama coach Nick Saban stepped in to break up the spat.
The reason? Jackson told Harrison not to talk trash to the opponent, and Harrison took exception.
“I wish we had a rule in college football — we have a rule where our players can’t talk to the other players on the field,” Saban said. “There was a lot of trash talking going on on the other side. That’s OK, that’s their choice, they can do whatever they want. I’m not being critical of that. You know, Ronnie let it emotionally get to him that these other guys were talking. So he said something, and Eddie said, ‘Hey man, this is not what we do, we don’t talk to the other team.’
“And Ronnie got all upset, not necessarily at Eddie, he was just emotionally upset about the trash talking and Eddie saying something to him.”
Meanwhile, some turmoil on Alabama's sideline: pic.twitter.com/Aij7V9kyd7
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) September 4, 2016
Jackson and Harrison are Alabama’s two starting safeties. Jackson, a senior, is one of the leaders of Alabama’s defense and the most experienced secondary player. Harrison is a sophomore who stepped into a starting spot after playing a key role last year as a freshman.
“You know, these two guys have a lot of respect for each other,” Saban said. “They’re really good friends. I think the lesson to be learned is that when you have a teammate who is caring about you and trying to help you, the response should be ‘Thank you,’ not ‘Screw you.’ That’s basically the lesson that should be learned from the guys.
“I think sometimes when players get emotional, that’s very difficult to do. Ronnie Harrison is a fine young man, it’s totally out of character for him, he’s apologized for it and is very sorry for it and I don’t think that’ll ever be an issue again.”
Harrison took to Twitter following the game to address the situation.
We competitors, sometimes we wanna win so bad our heads clash. Still got love for my brother @EJackson_4 ???
— Ronnie Harrison II (@Rharr_15) September 4, 2016
@Rharr_15 You Know That Lil Bra Love Ya Soulja?
— Eddie Jackson (@EJackson_4) September 4, 2016