On a week off, even if the week off is the week before the Game of the Millenium, football players get a chance to get away from the grind a bit and take care of some personal business.
Take LSU offensive guard Will Blackwell, for instance.
After LSU beat Auburn 45-10 on Oct. 22, he had extra time to take care of something he might not have otherwise had time to deal with.
“I just got engaged on Friday,” Blackwell admitted to a crowd of reporters Monday, a not-so-unknown fact to anybody following LSU players on Twitter.
Blackwell got a “yes” from his girlfriend, Laura Cummings. Asked what made him more nervous, the thought of marriage or the thought of playing Alabama in the most anticipated college football game of the season, Blackwell said “Both. They are right there on par.
“We got the engagement out of the way and that’s behind me. We are ready for the test of Alabama.”
And what a test.
An LSU offensive line that has been able to wear opponents down will face an Alabama defense that leads the nation in rush defense (44.8 yards a game). The 3-4 Alabama front, anchored by 310-pound nose guard Josh Chapman, has largely been successful in neutralizing offensive lines, allowing the Tide’s talented linebackers, led by post-season award candidates Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, to freely roam to punish ball carriers.
Blackwell said he knows that can’t be the case Saturday.
“A key is being able to run the ball,” Blackwell said. “I’m sure that’s going to be part of our game plan. You have to run to set up the pass as we’ve done most of the season. That’s going to be one of our main objectives this week.”
It’s a task, Blackwell said, that’s going to require attention to detail.
“Focusing on the minor, minute, little things is going to be big this week,” Blackwell said. “Whichever team makes the least mistakes is probably going to win.”
And that requires a player’s full, undivided attention, which Blackwell is able to give this week.
After all, he took care of a not-so-small personal issue last week.