Normal redefined as LSU prepares for Vanderbilt
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
By Scooter Hobbs
BATON ROUGE — LSU will be on the road for the third time in its first four games Saturday when the Tigers travel to Vanderbilt.
That hasn’t happened since 1993,but it will be about the closest thing to a normal week the Tigers have had in this season of the doublewhammy hurricanes.
And that’s only if you can call anything normal that involves preparing for a Vanderbilt team that, despite an upset loss to Middle Tennessee last weekend, is still tied for the SEC East lead with a 2-0 conference record (4-1 overall).
According to the media guide,LSU (2-1, 1-1 SEC) should have played four games by now, three of other ideas. The season-opener against North Texas was postponed until the last weekend in October. The delayed “home” opener was played in Tempe, Ariz., against Arizona State and the when the Tigers finally did get a true home game against Tennessee, it was delayed two days and became the first Monday Night Football game in Tiger Stadium history. That, of course, left LSU with a short week to prepare for Mississippi State.
But while much of the state continues to recover from the Katrina/Rita double-team, the Tigers finally get a hint of normalcy —following one Saturday game with another on the date and place it was actually scheduled.
“Honestly, I look forward to a regular week,” LSU head coach Les to it being Monday and then Tuesday and being able to get in a couple practices in a row with the team and play the game Saturday with a normal travel schedule.”
He added that he also looks forward to a “Normal home schedule, eventually.”
For now, though, the Tigers, who fell to No. 11 in the polls after hammering Mississippi State 37-7, since the 30-27 overtime loss to Tennessee wasn’t figured into the previous voting, will settle for a routine road trip.
“Every week there’s been a change,” Miles said. “Every week has been a little awkward.
“I think everybody is looking to get beyond that unusual regimen.
“I think that definitely does affect a team,” Miles said of the adjustments and uncertainty of the schedule thus far.
“To what extent I'm not certain. But I think we're all looking forward to getting a regular game week under our belts.”
Miles gave his team a lot of credit for the way the Tigers responded to beat Mississippi State after the meltdown against Tennessee — even while admitting LSU had an obvious edge in talent against the struggling Bulldogs.
“It looked just like you might expect,” he said of his review of the game film. “It was a workmanlike effort, but with a little bit of an attitude.
“They wanted to get back on track, they wanted to take the victory, and in a short week I really think they demonstrated great character.
“There were some guys who were nicked and bruised, but the assistant coaches did a great job of preparing them for the game plan without having the normal week to prepare.”
The oddity this week will be that Vanderbilt and its fans are excited about football for a change. The Commodores are 2-0 in the SEC and will be trying to get since 1950.
Miles didn’t care to speculate on whether Vanderbilt might have been looking ahead to the Tigers when it was upset last Saturday.
“We’re more concerned about ourselves,” Miles said. “I think we have a good football team. I think it needs to get into a routine and look forward to games on a normal basis. We need the same amount of break and the same amount of preparation in between, and I think that allows a team to improve pretty regularly. I think the team looks forward to that themselves.”