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2 coaches, 2 styles, both winners
One wears a perpetual scowl, his words robotic and succinct. With Nick Saban, it’s all about “the process,” which means running his football program with the meticulousness of a CEO. It may come across as cold and detached _ even ruthless _ but it sure works.
Then there’s Les Miles. He eats grass and sings with his players. He mangles words so badly there’s an entire website dedicated to his malaprops. He thrives on gambles and trick plays, even if it gives the impression he’s running a game by the seat of his pants.
Guess what? His methods work, too.
When No. 1 LSU travels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday night to face No. 2 Alabama in one of the most anticipated regular-season games in years, the contrasting styles of the two coaches figure to be broken down as much as the astounding talent on the field.
Certainly, no one can question the results of either man.
The 60-year-old Saban won a BCS championship with the Tigers, then claimed another national title at Alabama after quickly rebuilding a glamorous program that had fallen on hard times. Miles, who’s 57, has a championship of his own, and his success over the last couple of seasons has allowed him to finally escape his predecessor’s large, lingering shadow in Baton Rouge.
One’s gruff, the other’s a bit goofy.
Both are winners.
“There’s just a standard of excellence for everyone in the organization,” said Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones. “Some people just worry about football, I guess. But coach Saban takes over every aspect of a program, from top to bottom. From the equipment managers and training staff to the (graduate assistants) and all the coaches, no stone goes unturned. He gets everyone on the same program with him.”
Miles wouldn’t be where he is without a similar level of organization, but that side of him tends to go largely unrecognized. Mostly, the focus is on the unorthodox tactics that spawned his nickname, “The Mad Hatter,” and his Yogi Berra-like way of expressing himself.
Just check out the website “The Quotable Les Miles,” which has more than 600 well-documented quips from the LSU coach. Among the baffling words of wisdom:
_ “We never considered what ended up being going for a first down, which is what we got with the fake anyway.”
_ “The want to get to the call that we eventually win the game with is certainly a burden that I’m carrying.”
_ “I told my guys, `We made our bed, and now it’s time to get it right.’”
By David A. Clarke Jr.
Blame Washington's intelligence failure, not lack of police
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