HOOVER — Darth Vader arrived at SEC Football Media Days without his black cape, breathing apparatus and mask — or even his white ball cap that looks a couple sizes too tight.
Les Miles has what everybody else wants, the national championship trophy. But the LSU coach, who became the fifth active coach in the league to win a national title when the Tigers whipped Ohio State in January, said that’s over.
“We’re not defending. We’re not dealing with rankings,” Miles said. “This is a brand-new year. If we’re defending, come see the trophy. It’s in our trophy case. We’re not defending. We got a brand new team.”
Sounds normal, right? Miles says all the right things most of the time. He may even mean them. But he just can’t help creating some buzz.
He recently told an LSU group not to put too much on the Alabama game because a lot of Louisiana teams beat the Crimson Tide last year.
It was an easy — and funny — jab at Alabama losing to LSU and Louisiana-Monroe last season.
Of course, he had to answer for it Wednesday — in Alabama.
“The state of Louisiana has 12 colleges that play football,” a writer began. “If Alabama played those 12 as a schedule in the season, what do you think their record would be?”
It drew laughs, even from Miles.
“I want you to know something: I have great respect for the University of Alabama, the history they have presented to college football, the competition that they put on every time they take the field. I promise you that any fun and entertainment that I have with supporters is very respectful. I love college football, the competition and the young men that play it.”