by Glenn Guilbeau. Once a hack, always a hack. Check out the fan quotes. Some of 'em make no sense at all. They keep saying he jilted LSU. Maybe. But, he didn't jilt LSU for Alabama. I've always tried to pull for LSU since I live here, but they make it very difficult for me.
http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081103/SPORTS0202/81102010BATON ROUGE — “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” wrote 18th century playwright William Congreve in “The Mourning Bride.”
Well, hell also hath no fury like an LSU fan base scorned. And the Tiger Nation will get to unleash all that fire and brimstone Saturday when former LSU coach Nick “Satan” Saban brings his No. 1 and undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide here and will coach against LSU in Tiger Stadium for the first time since leaving LSU at the proverbial altar on Christmas Day 2004 to become the Miami Dolphins’ coach.
Just two years later, Saban lied and denied his way from Miami to Tuscaloosa, Ala., while LSU fans cried as he bolted the big time to return to his comfort-zoned college coaching at none other than LSU rival Alabama.
And just two seasons later, Saban, who signed the most lucrative long-term guaranteed contract in college football history at $32 million for eight years, has Alabama on top of the world of college football just in the nick of time for his return to the bayou. ESPN’s “College GameDay” show will broadcast live from LSU Saturday morning.
“We want to kick his butt,” said veteran LSU fan Gary Perkins of Pineville while at LSU’s 35-10 win over Tulane on Saturday night. “I don’t respect him. We don’t respect him. He’s a carpetbagger and a turncoat. I appreciate what he did and what he left us, but we don’t respect him. We appreciate having him, but we don’t respect him.”
Ian Dallimore, a recent LSU graduate along with his wife Katie, said they will be in Tiger Stadium booing when the No. 15 and defending national champion Tigers (6-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) try to ruin the season of No. 1 Alabama (9-0, 5-0 SEC).
“I will boo him,” Ian Dallimore said at the Tulane game. “He’s just chasing money. He’s still chasing money. He shouldn’t have gone to Miami. You coach at a place that you’re passionate about, not where the money is.”
Added Katie Dallimore, “Why else would you leave LSU but for the money? But I only want him to lose when he’s playing us. There’s a lot of dislike on both sides I think. Alabama fans hate us. It’s going to be very intense. Last year was very intense.”
LSU coach Les Miles, who replaced Saban on Jan. 1, 2005, and matched him with the national championship just two seasons later in 2007, beat Saban in Tuscaloosa last season 41-34 to end Alabama’s three-game winning streak that season. And the Tide went on to lose four in a row in all before finishing 7-6.
“We look forward to playing them,” said Miles, who downplayed the Saban factor.
Saban also insisted he is not the focus of the game after his team defeated Arkansas State 35-0 Saturday night.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet, but it ain’t going to be about me,” he said. “It’s going to be about our players and about our team. And I don’t care how hard anybody tries to make it about something else, it’s not going to be. So I’m kind of giving you a little forewarning. If somebody wants to get a you-know-what chewing this week, that would be a good way to get it because it’s not going to be about that.”
Saban browbeat Miami-area reporters in similar fashion late in the 2006 season when he repeatedly said he was not going to Alabama and did, which is called “crawfishing” in these parts.
Loyal LSU fan and premium tailgater Jacques Berry of Baton Rouge denounced Saban, who was born on Halloween day in 1951.
“I do hate Nick Saban,” Berry said. “But not for leaving LSU. I guess it was the way he handled the Miami situation. He came here when he was at Miami (to play the homeless Saints in Tiger Stadium because of Hurricane Katrina in 2005), and very few people booed him. But I would guess that this Saturday you’ll hear more boos directed toward one person than you’ve ever heard at a sporting event. But I can admit that our defensive coaches are not in the same league as Saban.”
And on the tailgating menu for the Saban Bowl?
“Maybe we’ll throw some wieners into the shrimp pot,” Berry said. “It’s not crawfish season, you know.”
Meanwhile, the Tiger Manor condominiums near the LSU campus is hosting a “Burn Bama Bonfire” Friday night. A billboard with a burning figure in an Alabama shirt is on billboards in town under the words, “Welcome back Nick!”
Steve Skvivanos of Shreveport also had a problem with how Saban left Miami.
“I think Nick Saban and his agent (Jimmy Sexton) were working behind the scenes and letting Alabama know that if it fired Mike Shula (the Tide’s coach from 2003-06) that Saban would be interested,” Skvivanos said. “I thought that was bad sportsmanship and disingenuous. It was not forthright. I didn’t have a problem with the way he left LSU for Miami.”
Alabama did offer the job to West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez before Saban, though.
Many fans said they would not boo Saban and expressed much respect for the job he did at LSU, which was 7-15 overall and 3-13 in the SEC in the two seasons before Saban arrived from Michigan State in 2000. He went 8-4 that first season, then won the SEC in 2001 and finished 10-3. After a dip to 8-5 in 2002, Saban went 13-1 in 2003 and brought LSU its first national title since 1958. He went 9-3 in 2004 before heading to Miami.
“I will not boo him,” said Elaine McManus of Baton Rouge. “I want LSU to win, but I loved what coach Saban did for the program. He loved us.”
Said husband Fred McManus, “He’s a great coach, but just because we love him doesn’t mean we don’t want to kick his butt.”
The McManus’ friend, Suzy Nauck of Baton Rouge, felt empathy for Saban.
“I feel sorry for him really because I think he’s going to get booed bad,” Nauck said. “But I think he was a great coach here. He did a lot for LSU.”
Attorney Eric Guirard of Baton Rouge echoed many of the LSU fans.
“I respect Nick Saban,” he said. “I think he’s a great coach. I certainly want to beat him, but I hold no ill will toward him. And I don’t have a problem with what he did when he left LSU and went to Alabama. That was the only big job open, and he wanted out of the NFL.”
One Alabama fan did not understand why so many LSU fans hate Saban so much considering the fact that there were 30 Saban signees on LSU’s national championship team last year, including stars Glenn Dorsey, Jacob Hester, Early Doucet, Craig Steltz, Early Doucet and Chevis Jackson. Nearly a dozen Saban signees remain on this team, including stars Tyson Jackson, Brett Helms and Herman Johnson.
“This is LSU’s last year of clinging onto Saban and the talent he brought,” wrote John David Smith of Tuscaloosa in an e-mail. “If not for him in the first place, LSU would still be irrelevant in the SEC anyway.”