Unfortunately, no fireworks were reported when Les Miles and Nick Saban crossed paths this week. Apparently, the coaches successfully inhabited the same room during the SEC's spring meetings at Destin, Fla. But don't turn away just yet. It's likely a developing feud between the current LSU coach and the former LSU coach will continue to smolder. For evidence, we present the verbal sparring during the few months since Saban's return to college coaching. His move from the NFL to Alabama infuriated the LSU faithful, and apparently inspired Miles to revert to the feisty public mode Oklahomans remember well. In case you haven't been paying attention, we'll recap. January 4: During the news conference heralding his arrival at Alabama, Saban refers to his stint at LSU. The night before, the Tigers had whipped Notre Dame 41-14 in the Sugar Bowl; Saban noted he recruited the nucleus of that team. "The players that you saw play last night for LSU were primarily players that were recruited when I was there,” Saban said. February 7: At a recruiting bash for a few thousand boosters, Miles suggests the Tigers are "looking forward” to playing Florida and Auburn, "but we have a new rival in ******* Alabama!” Miles also suggested Saban had engaged in negative recruiting and hinted at "breaking of rules,” though he wouldn't say which schools he was referring to. Some would suggest Miles should be grateful to Saban. Despite his stellar record in two seasons at LSU, Miles hadn't been embraced by the fan base. Tiger fans wondered how Saban might have fared with the same players — players Saban recruited. But when Saban moved to an SEC West rival, he went from revered to reviled — and Miles' status was immediately more secure. Not being Saban was suddenly a good thing. And Miles knows a good thing when he sees it. Again last month at a fan banquet in Pensacola, Fla., Miles couldn't help himself. "It's funny, my entire coaching career, I've never enjoyed the color red,” Miles said. "Ohio State, Indiana. Shoot, when I was with the (Dallas) Cowboys, it was the Redskins. I just see it as another opportunity to go back to my roots and kick the crap out of another team in red.” Miles left out one particular shade of red. But all of this certainly sounds familiar, doesn't it? Recall Miles' sparring with Bob Stoops along the rubber-chicken circuit. Miles says this. Stoops says that. Fans on both sides get mad. Bedlam ratchets up a notch or two. Miles' volleys were all the more incendiary because the Cowboys beat OU two straight years (2001 and 2002). And this is why the first big showdown between Miles and Saban wasn't in Destin last week. Instead, circle Nov. 3, when LSU visits Tuscaloosa. By the way, Miles later apologized for using the expletive at the LSU recruiting bash, saying the "remark was out of character for me.” Expletive aside, we'd say the remark was perfectly in character — at least, the character Miles keeps playing with rivalries.
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Louisiana State football coach Les Miles. Associated press