State Of The Hogs

Here's a disclaimer, just to make sure you have a large dose of fun Saturday when LSU coach John Brady struts onto the court before the game with Arkansas.

You still have the right to boo Brady. My message to The Trough, the UA student section: yell anything you want at Brady.

I don't care. It's OK to try to make Brady miserable, although I wonder if the LSU coach might even enjoy the situation.

However, don't expect Arkansas guard Eric  Ferguson to applaud any personal attacks on the LSU coach. That might surprise some since it was Ferguson who got into it with Brady at the SEC tournament in New Orleans two years ago.

Ferguson, then a freshman, took something personal that Brady was hollering from the bench to an SEC official about his play. He responded and was ejected from the game.

It was about this time last year that Ferguson buried the hatchet. He made it official after LSU's game at Bud Walton Arena, just seconds after the Tigers had won to offer a handshake and an apology to Brady.

"Coach Brady?" Ferguson said Thursday when the LSU coach was mentioned in a brief interview before the Hogs' workout. "He's a real good coach. He gets his team ready and his guys play real, real hard for him.

"That deal two years ago, I thought I had a little something for him that day. That was a mistake on my part, not very mature. I disrespected him. He's a coach and I'm a player. I was out of line. As a man, I had to step up and admit that.

So he apologized.

"Yep, I did," Ferguson said. "I had been thinking about doing it before that game and I just decided to do it when the game was over. I felt I had to be mature and say I was wrong."

It wasn't anyone else's idea. Ferguson did it on his own, without the knowledge of his coach, Stan Heath. The UA skipper read about it in the media the next day, then heard about it from Brady just another day later.

"John called me to tell me how much he appreciated it from Eric and what he thought about Eric as a person and a player," Heath said. "That was nice to get that call. I think John was really impressed that Eric had done that."

Heath admits he doesn't know Brady well. He smiled when he was told about some of the past confrontations between Brady and the Hogs, some of the little wars waged in the media between Brady and Nolan Richardson.

"I think John is interesting," Heath said. "You know what you are going to get with him. He does wear his emotions on his sleeve.

"I haven't been around him much, but when I have been, I liked him. We had a good visit last year at Destin when the SEC coaches had a get together. I enjoyed that."

For sure, Heath didn't seem like a guy who thought Brady evil. You got that feeling from Richardson when Brady's name was mentioned. Oh, Nolan might not say anything (although he did sometimes), but he'd give you that smirk that sent a strong negative message.

"Hey, I like all the coaches in this league, I really do," Heath said. "I think we have a hard enough time without giving each other any grief."

"I wanted him to know that I had watched a lot of tape and hadn't seen anything I thought was more than just aggressive, physical play," Heath said. "We talked about that and some other things."

Maybe Heath could empathize with Felton. His Georgia team loaded with walk-ons and freshmen is 1-9 now with a probable SEC destination of 1-15. Those Bulldogs looked remarkably like Heath's first Arkansas team.

Now back to Brady. It's your duty as a fan to give him heck Saturday for about three hours.


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