W. Carolina coach understands what Saban is going through — he really does

Believe it or not, Western Carolina coach Mark Speir knows exactly how Alabama’s Nick Saban feels.

Saban’s Crimson Tide lost Saturday to Texas A&M 29-24, possibly derailing a third appearance in four years in the BCS National Championship Game.

Speir coached at Appalachian State as an assistant from 2003-11 before accepting the Western Carolina job, where his team is 1-9 this year.

While Speir was at Appalachian, the program won three straight Division I-AA national titles from 2005-07.

“It gets harder and harder,” Speir said today on the Southern Conference coaches teleconference. “You get everybody’s trick play, everybody’s best offense, everybody’s best effort. It’s hard to do what Alabama has done as long as they’ve done without getting a loss.”

Also, Speir isn’t expecting anything different from Alabama on Saturday, even if the Tide had won.

“The thing about Nick Saban, whether you like him or not, he’s one of the best,” Speir said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re playing Green Bay Packers, Western Carolina or Smokey Mountain Middle School, he’s going to have his team prepared.”

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