A few minutes with Craig Loston _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU safety Craig Loston

They don’t call Craig Loston “Poppa” for nothing. The oldest player on the LSU team — he turned 24 on Dec. 21 and has linebacker Tahj Jones beat by six days — he’s also one of the Tigers’ five fifth-year seniors. The two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection will close his long career Wednesday against Iowa in the Outback Bowl. We caught up with Loston on Saturday during the players’ visit to Tampa General Hospital:

Sum up your five years at LSU.

It’s been a great ride. I started off slow and ended how I wanted it with one game to go. You can’t ask for more out of a school. I’ve been around great guys. It’s been a blessing to be put in a situation like this. It’s an awesome feeling.

Is the focus and motivation there for your team in this game?

Without a doubt. We’re going to treat Iowa like any other team. We respect them to the fullest, and we’re going to go over our keys trying to get ready to come out on top. When Wednesday comes, we’re going to come out and play and play hard. We know what we want to do and keep this streak of 10-win seasons going.

You sort of started your college career in Florida at the 2009 Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, where you committed to LSU. Any similarities?

If anything it’s being around a bunch of talented guys trying to compete and have fun and get better.

Is it difficult trying to enjoy the reward of a bowl trip and have enough focus to beat a quality opponent?

Having fun is always something you want to do no matter what the outcome may be. This is a new bowl game we’ve never been in before with this team. I’m having fun, soaking the moment in. But when it’s time for the game, it gets serious.

What do you need to do in the game to help your team win?

Make sure we’re all on the same page, all 11, so we can all get our pre-snap reads and make sure everyone is on their keys. If we stay focused on the game, I think we’ll be fine.

Scott Rabalais