Thursday, November 6, 2008

Saban stays mum on Presidential election

TUSCALOOSA — Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had a stake in last Tuesday’s elections. While Saban did not say whether he voted for Barack Obama or John McCain for President, his good friend, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, won reelection. Manchin defeated Russ Weeks.
“All I know is, there are a whole bunch of people who voted for the guy who won and a whole bunch of people who voted for the guy that lost,” Saban said. “So why would I talk about either one of them? Seems to me like I’d be making a mistake with a whole bunch of people.”
On Tuesday night, players crammed in front of their televisions to watch the eventual outcome.
“That was a big time for our country, and a lot of guys paid attention to it,” left guard Mike Johnson said. “A lot of people were like, ‘Come to my house to watch the election.’ Like it was a football game or something.”
• SABAN SHINES LIGHT ON MILES: Saban tried to put to rest the talk of LSU coach Les Miles living in his shadow.
“I like Les Miles. He’s won more games there than I’d have won if I had stayed,” Saban said. “I don’t know why anybody is upset that I left, because they’ve done better since I left than when I was there.”
In this three-plus years at LSU, Miles has a 40-8 record. In four years at LSU, Saban finished with a 48-16 record.
“Les might not like me, but I have no personal problems with any of this stuff,” Saban said.
• SMITH ALMOST WENT TO LSU: Left tackle Andre Smith said he came close to choosing LSU over Alabama. In 2006, when Smith made his choice to play with the Tide, the Tigers were his second selection.
“(Alabama) was close to home, and I was able to go to church on Sundays back home, and my family would’ve had to drive five hours if I was at LSU,” Smith said, adding with a smile, “Nothing is like my church.”
• DAVIS READY FOR RETURN: Alabama defensive end Luther Davis has good reason to be nervous for his family, for himself and for his football future.
In 2007, Davis, a native of West Monroe, La., publicly committed to LSU, took back his commitment and went with Alabama after visiting Tuscaloosa. Tigers fans called him a traitor, and Davis says his father, who worked for LSU fans, almost lost his job.
“It was pretty emotional, just for my family experiencing things every day,” Davis said. “Just having the whole city and state turn their back on you, treating you all kinds of ways, calling you names, just because you didn’t do what was best for them, but best for yourself.”
Davis said that when he informed LSU coach Les Miles of his decision, Miles referred to Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban as the devil. Miles refuted the claim and said that Davis has reached out to LSU in the past year, though he did not specify the reasoning. Davis was suspended for spring practice for an undisclosed reason.
“I know (Davis) has tried to communicate with this program several times since he’s been at Alabama,” Miles said. “Emails, texts. We have not communicated with him. We just wish him the very best.”
Davis said he is not nervous about his return. In fact, he has received ticket requests from as far west as Washington and California.
“I’ve been trying to get myself prepared for it for about a year now. I’m trying not to think about it, but at the same time, I know what’s going to happen is going to happen, so I’m just trying to bear with it the best I can.”
• LSU DEFENSE A PROBLEM FOR LSU: In its past three SEC games, the Tigers have allowed 120 points to Florida, South Carolina and Georgia combined. Does that sound like an LSU defense?
“You don’t expect that from an LSU defense at all,” quarterback John Parker Wilson said.
The Tigers might have lost first-round NFL pick Glenn Dorsey, but it still has several talented players in defensive ends Tyson Jackson and Ricky Jean-Francois, as well as linebacker Darry Beckwith. Despite the bad numbers, it still has the talent to be a top defensive unit.
“We’re going to go in there expecting that they’re the best team we play,” Wilson said. “They’re going to be the best defense we’ve played and we’ve got to go at them.”
• MOUNT CODY RETURNS?: Nose tackle Terrence Cody is expected back after missing the past two games with a strained right knee ligament.
Saban said the amount Cody plays depends on how much stamina he can build up as the Tide prepares to face the Tigers. But Cody’s return might not matter all that much. Without Cody, Alabama allowed 173 total yards to Tennessee and 158 total to Arkansas State. But LSU brings a better running attack than either of those teams. The Tigers average 186.13 yards of rushing offense per game.
— Josh Cooper

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