LSU is using its open week to correct mistakes — and there were plenty of them in the win over then-No. 3 Ole Miss last Saturday.
The Tigers had four turnovers and three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and punt returner Tre’Davious White struggled.
No. 16 LSU (7-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) hosts No. 3 Alabama (7-1, 4-1) on Nov. 8. Could the Tigers overcome a host of mistakes against the Crimson Tide?
“You could only hope the answer is yes,” coach Les Miles said. “To correct those things and fix it is really what we need to do.”
Quarterback Anthony Jennings threw two interceptions, and running backs Leonard Fournette and Terrence Magee lost fumbles.
Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux received to personal foul penalties and was ejected. According to NCAA rules, a player flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties must leave the game. He will not miss any time against Alabama, but his flags cost LSU.
The Tigers played without Godchaux for Ole Miss’ final drive. Miles said he’s spoken to Godchaux about the flags.
“I think he enjoys the ability to communicate after the whistle, and I think that is generally a problem,” Miles said.
White followed his best game as a punt returner with possibly his worst against Ole Miss. White returned two punts for no yards, fair-caught a returnable punt and allowed another to bounce inside the 6-yard line.
LSU had two drives start at the 4-yard line and one each at the 6- and 5-yard line after Ole Miss punts.
“He had every opportunity for a great learning experience,” Miles said. “He’s going to be a really good returner. We just need to get him comfortable on some of those bouncing balls.”
Ideal open week
The open week is “exactly what (LSU) needed” after playing nine straight weeks, and its timing is “ideal” for LSU coach Les Miles.
Miles lost his mother, Martha Miles, on Friday. She was 91. He also learned Friday that his son, Ben Miles, broke his leg during a football game.
LSU is the only SEC team to have opened the season with nine or more games. The Tigers meet Alabama and travel to Arkansas before a second and final bye week before the Thanksgiving Night game at Texas A&M.
“I think nine straight weekends and an opportunity to get fresh, really look at our offense, our defense and special teams in terms of moderate adjustment,” Miles said. “It’s exactly what we needed. The timing for me personally is ideal.”
Miles said Tuesday that his son Ben will undergo surgery soon. The Miles family was scheduled to have a private ceremony for Martha Miles late this week.
LSU players were given Monday off and practiced in full Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re scheduled for a full practice Thursday. LSU will hold a “team run” and workouts Friday before players will get the weekend off.
Yeldon not practicing
Alabama starting running back T.J. Yeldon sported a walking boot on his right foot and did not practice Tuesday and Wednesday, according to reporters who were allowed to view practice.
Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters that Yeldon, the team’s rushing leader, was only “beat up” and that coaches hoped he’d return to practice Monday. The Tide’s running back depth is somewhat thin if Yeldon doesn’t return.
Alabama lost reserve tailback Kenyan Drake to a season-ending injury earlier this year, and Tyren Jones is currently suspended.
Eights wins again?
LSU is one win from its 15th straight season with at least eight victories, which is the nation’s longest active streak.
The Tigers’ run began with Saban’s first season in Baton Rouge in 2000. LSU is currently on a school-record streak with four consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more.