Oh, and by the way, he and his Tigers teammates will be playing Georgia in the SEC Championship Game in the Georgia Dome.

Minter said he has been getting a lot of calls and messages from people back home this week.

“I’m trying to meet with a lot of folks at the (team) hotel,” Minter said. “They’re happy for me, though there are some that are bitter that I came here instead of going to Georgia.”

Minter said the Bulldogs recruited him late, after he was strongly leaning toward LSU. One of Minter’s teammates at Peachtree Ridge High School, safety Connor Norman, has played in all 12 games for Georgia and has 13 tackles.

LSU offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert, who has stopped doing interviews, is also from Atlanta. Other Tigers from the area are safety Derrick Bryant, who also played at Peachtree Ridge; fullback J.C. Copeland (LaGrange), and former Bulldogs quarterback Zach Mettenberger (Watkinsville).

Richt: LSU a ‘shoo-in’

Georgia coach Mark Richt and his team will try to hand No. 1 LSU its first loss of the season and deny the Tigers the SEC title. But Richt said Friday, even if the Bulldogs pull off the upset, he thinks LSU should be headed to the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

“Just look at who they played,” Richt said. “They played Alabama, they played Oregon, they played West Virginia and they played the SEC schedule.

“Absolutely, I would think they’d be a shoo-in to play.”

As for the Tigers’ potential opponent in the title game, Richt said he doesn’t have a problem with No. 2 Alabama being the pick even though the Crimson Tide finished second to LSU in the SEC West.

“If the rules say you must be conference champion, then that’s the way it is,” Richt said. “But if the rules don’t say that, I don’t think you have to be conference championship to play in that game.

“Why should somebody go stumping and try to convince everybody that should be part of the criteria when it’s not? So it’s not part of the criteria. I think it’s fine to have people that don’t win the conference play in the game.”

Tigers coach Les Miles was asked what he thought about a team that didn’t win its conference playing in the BCS title game.

“I have a very strong opinion,” Miles said, then stopped talking before adding, “It will be something I’ll share with you some other time in my life.”

Richt seeks own Copeland

Richt said he has been so impressed by LSU fullback J.C. Copeland that he’s trying to find a player on his team who can handle a similar role.

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Copeland, who LSU lists at 6-foot-1, 280 pounds, was a widely recruited defensive lineman in high school before becoming a blocker for the Tigers.

Richt referred to him as “Mr. Copeland” and said he was impressed that LSU didn’t use him just in goal-line situations.

“I’ve never seen a fullback quite as physical as this kid,” Richt said. “I’ve seen people just start jumping out of the way of this guy, literally. I’ve seen him bury guys. I’ve seen him wear people down. By the end of the game, they want nothing to do with him. He’s a big man, and he’s very agile.

“I’ve been looking around our campus or our practice field just scoping out either a D-lineman or a guard or somebody who maybe is not playing a lot, but could maybe do that. I’m thinking about doing some of that in the spring myself. I think it’s a good idea.”

Ready for crowd noise

LSU is 8-1 in games played in the Georgia Dome, and Georgia is just 4-4 there. But the Bulldogs figure to feel right at home with a large contingent of fans.

“I never feel bad playing in a place called the Georgia Dome,” Richt said. “That is a good thing. I think that’s a tremendous neutral site, quite frankly. As a matter of fact, it’s probably my favorite neutral site. Our fans will be there. It’s going to be loud for both teams.”

Richt said he underestimated how much noise a relatively small contingent of Boise State fans would make in the season opener in the dome, which the Broncos won 35-21.

“No disrespect on their fans, but there weren’t many in the Dome compared to what we were going to have,” Richt said. “They created enough noise for our guys to flinch and jump offsides and be late off the snap.”

Richt said Georgia began the game with a verbal snap count, which got drowned out by the Boise State fans.

“That was the worst decision I’ve probably made all year is not to be ready for the noise that first game,” Richt said. “That won’t happen again.”

The Bulldogs will use a silent count Saturday, Richt said.

Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais contributed

to this report.