The week of the big game is finally here.
No. 4 LSU and No. 7 Alabama will clash with playoff implications on the line at 7 p.m. Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. With SEC West supremacy at stake, LSU coach Les Miles acknowledged the heated rivalry is as important as it has ever been.
“You’re playing for all the things you wanted to play for at the beginning of the year,” Miles said Monday during his weekly press luncheon. “You’re playing for the lead in the West. You’ve put yourself, with your achievements, in position to do so. (The players) should look forward to it. They should relish it. It’s why you come to LSU — to be a part of this game.”
Here are more news nuggets from Miles’ presser:
- Injury update: Miles said he expects a trio of injured Tigers —
defensive tackle Christian LaCouture, defensive back Tre’Davious White and fullback JD Moore — “will play in the game.” One or two of those players might not practice Monday, the coach said, but he anticipates they’ll have “a full slate when we come to Saturday.” Moore has not played since injuring his knee against South Carolina on Oct. 10, but Miles said he “kind of went through every rep” in the last few practices. LaCouture and White suffered injuries the week leading up to LSU’s win against Western Kentucky on Oct. 24, in which they didn’t play.
- The Kevin Steele Effect: The Tigers appear to have an advantage in defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, who coached two separate stints at Alabama. But Miles downplayed Steele’s effect on preparing for the Tide, saying the coaches rely more on film when scouting an opponent. “We certainly enjoy Steele’s expertise on defense. But that will be on defending the opponent, not necessarily in translating,” Miles said. “What I’m saying is, I don’t know to what effect there has been a ‘Kevin Steele effect.'”
- No distractions: Sophomore RB Leonard Fournette’s will face his
toughest test of the season against Alabama’s No. 3 rushing defense, and his performance will likely influence his Heisman Trophy odds. Miles, though, said he doesn’t want Fournette focusing on that. “I would take all that of his plate and just talk about victory,” Miles said. “Just do the things he needs to do to help his team win and run the plays that we cal. He’ll have every opportunity to achieve at the highest level.”
- ‘Sid’s in a better place': Sid Ortis, an Alabama native and LSU fan, passed away last weekend following a battle with bone cancer. Miles invited Ortis and his family to meet with him on the field before LSU played Auburn on Sept. 19. “I was fortunate to meet Sid Ortis. His family knew that he was a great fan of LSU and reached out to a pastor in the area,” Miles said. “I was able to make his acquaintance. He had so much spirit and excitement and loved his Tigers. …He was with his mother and father, and is in a better place.”
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