Coach Saban, it’s Coach O for you on line 4…
“Hey, T-Nick. This is coach O. How ya doin’?”
“I’m good coach,” Saban responds, even though he’s been grouchy all week. “What’s on your mind?”
“C’est l’heure d’aller à la pêche!” O says (It’s time to go fishing). “Unless you’d rather go duck hunting this year? Do you know the difference between a poule d’eau and a redhead?”
“Hunting? I don’t even have a gun,” Saban says.
“Dat’s okay, ‘cher. You could get one from one of your players.”
“I’m not going messing around under their car seats. I let the boosters handle their cars. I’d rather just go fishing. Let’s get this over with. Where’s my Coke?” Saban growls.
It’s a home game for Bama, so off they go to Lake Tuscaloosa for the sixth annual LSU/Bama pre-game fishing contest, sponsored by lakedarbonnelife.com. Saban’s $200,000 custom pontoon boat is trailered in by his new $300,000 Nick Saban Signature Series Mercedes-Benz Sprinter luxury van. Coach O keeps it cajun. Jay Paul and R.J. tow over their Swamp People airboat behind their 2012 Z71 Chevy pickup.
“Now that is a bateau that a cajun could be proud of! On vas gagner pour sûr! (We’re gonna win for sure!),” O says.
They offer Nick a boat ride, but he doesn’t want to mess up his thinning hair.
Time to get started. Master of Ceremonies, Actress Wynn Everett, kicks off the tournament, because it’s the SEC and “It just means more!”
Coach O and his partner, DE Neil Farrell (one that got away from Saban), blast away for the south end of the lake, where the big largemouths have been mauling Redtail shad. Saban is still mulling around the dock talking process to a dozen seven-star recruits he has invited.
Farrell sacks a three pounder on the first cast on a Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer lure. Coach O scores too, landing a Rougarou sized keeper on a short cast to the tight end of a boat dock. Saban finally hits the water with little known sophomore wide receiver partner Chris “Red” Herring, who has never hit the field or the water for the Tide.
“Where’d you get our baits?” Saban asks.
“Some ghostly looking lady with a turban on her head named Marie Laveau just appeared and gave them to me last night,” Red Herring says.
Nick adjusts his headset. “My guys tell me there’s a trophy over there by that big orange and regalia colored channel buoy.” Saban says. “Let’s go! But wait, there’s somebody already over there.”
What? It’s Dabo Sweeney and he’s already landed the big trophy Saban thought was to be his! And he just caught it in the last minute!
Saban goes crazy when Herring points out that Kirk Herbstreit is broadcasting the event live on Facebook with color comments by Les Miles. “Awwright. Don’t let him see any of our secret baits,” Saban screams. It’s a record one minute and 16 seconds into the event before Saban goes crazy.
Lots of LSU fans have shown up to cheer on the Tiger team. Joe Alleva is clinging to his life vest, standing by Matt Canada, who is calling in the casts from the press boat. There’s also an empty chair in the boat in memory of Y.A. Tittle. And hey, Billy Cannon, Jacob Hester and Bert Jones are there, too.
Turncoat LSU commit-turned-Bama OL Matt Womack is there for the Tide, and is heard whispering to his dad, “I could have gone fishing with them. They catch more fish and have more fun.”
Bam! Coach O lands another one. “That’s three,” he says, turning to give a wink to Connor Culp who is watching from the boat dock. “On a du bon gris-gris aujourd’hui! (“We’ve got some good gris-gris today!)”
“We gonna have a big sack,” says Farrell. “These custom Red Stick fishing rods really help. Our D is bringing these baton rouges to put the Hurts on some elephants Saturday.”
“I could care less about the poles, awwright?” Saban screams. “Seriously, what do the poles mean at this point anyway, awwright?”
He stomps his foot and yells at the press boat again, throws his pole down and kicks his depth finder into the lake. Then he really screams when Red Herring pulls out a can of Kipper Snacks and spills the juice on his fancy boat carpet. “Why couldn’t you just bring Popeye’s like Coach O?”
“These baits must be cursed. We can’t get a bite,” Saban yells, throwing his headset into the water. The Bama coach is livid.
His frustration at losing on his home lake gets him an Illegal commotion call from the ref, the first flag thrown by an SEC ref on Saban his entire career. He appears stunned and even tells his daughter it is okay when she callsd and asks about buying a new $750 dress. Saban continues to carp about the call. Herring does catch a bream, but it is ruled an illegal catchfish. Saban feels more crappie than before. And it is all streaming live on the Facebook.
The process was failing Saban. He had even spent extra time this week with a guide service his old coaching friend Hugh Freeze “hooked” him up with. Didn’t help.
“You can’t win fishing tournaments with defense,” Herbstreit tells the 6.5 million Faceviewers. Bama staffers quickly put the boxes of preprinted “2017 SEC Fishing Champions” t-shirts back in Saban’s van so they can be shipped to Bama grads in poor countries overseas.
“Hey coach, this lake cost less to build than you get paid every year,” Farrell yells at the head Bama man. Nick’s had enough. He cranks up and heads out across the lake, but somehow hits the one big orange buoy and takes out his outboard.
No problem. Coach O throws a rope and hooks on to the fancy pontoon boat and pulls it to the weigh in. He and Farrell can’t hear the screaming from Saban and Herring because of the noise of the airboat, but being towed close behind an airboat can be a bit of a moist ride.
Coach O brings three fish – a seven and two threes – to the scales for 13 pounds. The only thing fishy that Saban has is a half can of herring, minus the juice, and of course, that six year old unopened bottle of Coke. Don’t you think it’s a bit fishy that he never drinks it?
Not a single bAss in Saban’s fancy boat. Awwright. It’s offishial. LSU wins, 13-0. Looks like Alabama is No. 2 in more places than one.
“We have to have a mindset that we can go out and beat those guys whether it’s football or fishing,” O says. “One heart, three Fishbites!”
As for Saban?
Please follow Sir Brad. He’s going to give you A private tour of the Pit of Misery!
Dilly Dilly, Nick. Dilly Dilly.
Brilliant! I love the creativity that goes into these stories.
The lives of Orgeron, Miles, and Saban are inextricably linked throughout history now. Your readers and guests may also enjoy this little song which plays on the rivalry and the evolution of the coaches –
That’s a good story.
Bless Nicky and O!!!