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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miles doesn't take Saban bait

DESTIN, Fla. - The duel in Destin drubbed on Wednesday as an undercurrent to the Southeastern Conference spring meetings.

On Tuesday, Alabama coach Nick Saban played nice toward LSU coach Les Miles by saying, "I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way he’s taken over the program at LSU and the good job he’s done with the program there and the games that he’s won.”

Miles, who became LSU's coach after the 2004 season when Saban left for the Miami Dolphins, did not reciprocate in kind as the Saban-Miles feud continued as a subtle war of words.

Miles even referred to Saban as "it" instead of "he."

Asked how he and Saban were getting along on Wednesday, Miles said only, "We're discussing the same agenda. To me it's just a guy that's representing the other school."

Asked about his relationship with Saban, Miles grew testier and terse.

"Never knew him before," Miles said. "Have no real relationship with him. Have none still."

A reporter whose school rarely plays LSU or Alabama but is suddenly interested in the story called Miles' exchange with reporters on the Saban issue as "icy."

Since Saban became Alabama's coach in January, Miles has continually spoke zestfully to rowdy fan groups about the upcoming LSU game at Alabama on Nov. 3. He also has spoken of negative recruiting by other coaches recruiting the same players LSU does. He didn't mention any names, but Saban and Miles did recruit some of the same players last recruiting season.

Asked if things have been awkward between himself and Saban the last two days at various meetings, Miles shrugged off the question.

"This is the first time anyone's asked me about it," he said, which is not true.

Other coaches have been asked about the Saban factor the last two days. Asked if he's excited to have Saban back in the league, Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said, "No," with a laugh. "I'd rather he stayed somewhere else. He's a great coach. He'll do a great job."

Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who like Saban left for the NFL but failed and returned as coach of South Carolina, acknowledged that he and Saban have that in common.

"Well, only that, though," he said with a grin. "Only that. Ha ha. No, we're pretty different individuals other than having that in common."


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