Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Facebook: Miles and Saban

Southeastern Conference heavyweights Louisiana State and Alabama don't play until Nov. 3 at Tuscaloosa, but they'll be holding the weigh-in Tuesday in Destin, Fla., site of the SEC meetings.

Tiger coach Les Miles and Crimson Tide counterpart Nick Saban will have their first face-to-face meeting, and although Miles is downplaying the encounter, there is no mistaking the considerable friction between the two since Saban rolled into Tuscaloosa.

The fact that Saban, who led LSU to a share of the national title in 2003, would end up coaching an SEC rival was enough to rile Tiger fans, and Saban couldn't help but take another crack at his former team. During the press conference, the day after LSU's 41-14 victory over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, Saban said, "I think the players that you saw play last night for LSU were primarily players that were recruited when I was there." He followed that with his "coonass" comment.

Miles fired back Feb. 7 when listing states his new signees were from, getting a roar from an audience by closing with "and two from Alabama." Recognizing the crowd reaction, he said, "You bet your ass!"

He continued: "I can tell you that there was some negative recruiting going on out there. I can tell you that in this recruiting class and in this recruiting season, I thought that what appeared to be breaking of rules was much more rampant."

That night, Miles dropped an expletive toward Alabama when addressing fans at the Bayou Bash in Baton Rouge. "We're looking forward to playing Florida. We're looking forward to playing Auburn. But we have a new rival in fucking Alabama!" Miles later apologized ... to LSU fans.

Saban, of course, was accused last week of secondary NCAA rules violations concerning illegal contact with prospects. When Saban was coach at LSU, he was reprimanded for similar secondary recruiting violations concerning illegal phone calls.

What can we expect Tuesday? Probably not much. The real fireworks will be Nov. 3. It's a game Miles needs to win if he wants to escape the shadow cast by Saban.

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