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LSU Board of Supervisors chairman James M. Williams, left, and athletic director Scott Woodward, right, shake hands after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at LSU's new Football Operations and Performance Nutrition Center, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Football coach Ed Oregeron is at center.

New LSU athletic director Scott Woodward certainly knows how to play to his audience.

Speaking Wednesday to a packed lunch-time audience at the weekly meeting of the Baton Rouge Rotary Club at Drusilla Place, Woodward was decked out in a sharp-looking purple and gold pinstriped seersucker suit.

Then he proceeded to deliver a compliment and a sharp jab to former LSU and current Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

“In the athletic world I always remind people that there have probably been three giants in the NCAA in this last half-century: Skip Bertman, Nick Saban and Mike Kryzyzewski,” Woodward said. “Two of those guys (Bertman and Saban) were on our campus in the early 2000s, and that’s because of LSU.”

Woodward then went on to say that the “guy in Alabama,” Saban, “has regrets about not being here. And shame on him."

Then pointing at Bertman, sitting at a table in front of the podium, Woodward added, “The one with the higher IQ is here today.”

The room erupted in laughter and applause at the last remark. A room likely filled with LSU supporters who have grown weary of the Tigers losing eight straight football games to Saban’s Crimson Tide dating back to the BCS National Championship game in January 2012.

No. 6-ranked LSU opens the season at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium against Georgia Southern, a game to be televised on ESPNU. The Tigers play their annual game with No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 9 in Tuscaloosa.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com