Football Practices Indoor, Preps for North Texas

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Football Practices Indoor, Preps for North Texas

BATON ROUGE — Rained chased LSU inside on Wednesday as the seventh-ranked Tigers continued to prepare for Saturday’s non-conference contest against North Texas with a workout in full pads here at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

The Tigers will have a light workout on Thursday followed by a walk-thru on Friday afternoon. Kickoff for the LSU-North Texas contest is slated for 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. LSU brings a 1-0 mark into the game, while the Mean Green is 0-2.

“Practice went well,” LSU coach Les Miles said following the workout. “We got a lot done even though the rain chased us inside. It was a good work day.

“We need another good day again tomorrow, get our legs back under us and be ready to play on Saturday.”

After speculation and storm watching all week, it was determined on Wednesday that LSU would indeed face North Texas in Tiger Stadium, a decision that pleased Miles.

“Everybody on the team is excited about playing in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night,” Miles said. “Night games in Tiger Stadium, that’s LSU football and that’s one of the things that makes our program unique. It’s a sign that things are beginning to get back to normal around here.”

After having to take a forced open date last Saturday due to Hurricane Gustav, Miles said he’s not worried about his teams’ focus going into the North Texas game. Saturday’s contest will be the first for LSU since opening the season on Aug. 30 with a 41-13 win over Appalachian State.

“I’m not really concerned that their focus has changed,” Miles said. “To me, they’ve been pretty similar in approach every day. I don’t think that the storm has had a tremendous, telling effect.

“We had a game week that ended on a Thursday and we got a good workout in last Friday and took the weekend off, so this is kind of a normal game week. There’s less distraction this week than last.”

One advantage to having last week is the fact that defensive tackle Charles Alexander will be ready to play on Saturday against North Texas. Alexander, who missed the final 11 games a year ago with a knee injury, has been slowed during fall camp with a hamstring injury.

Charles Alexander will see time this week and I’m excited about that,” Miles said. “He needs that. He’s a guy that’s really worked hard and pursued the field. He’s been injured and it has cost him playing time. He’ll play a lot of football Saturday and I look forward to watching him.”

Saturday’s contest will mark the fourth meeting between the Tigers and the Mean Green with LSU holding a 3-0 advantage. The teams last met in 2005 with LSU posting a 56-3 win over North Texas in Baton Rouge.

LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES

Opening Statement…
“The practice went well. We got a lot done. We had some rain earlier in the day that scared us inside, and we wanted to make sure we could throw and catch and we wanted to teach. This was a big work day, we got a lot done. From here we’ll tone down, take some time off the practice field tomorrow to get our legs back and get ready to play.”

On if playing in Tiger Stadium and not having to travel relieves any anxiety…
“Yes. Everybody is excited about Tiger Stadium and being home. It’s wonderful. I hope that wherever Hurricane Ike ends up it’s desolate and not too terribly inconvenient.”

On what different things we might see in the passing game on Saturday…
“I think it’s going to be the same. I think you will not see differences. There have been some twists in this passing attack that look very similar, but they’re different. I think the running game will look very similar than it has in the past and, hopefully, with better execution in both phases of the game.”

On if he plans on passing the ball more downfield…
“Well, it really depends on how they play us. Looking at it, they’re over the top when it comes to coverage, and if they play over the top then that’s certainly not going to happen as often.”

On if he feels this game is more for the people of Louisiana after Hurricane Gustav…
“I think our team identifies very strongly with this state and those things that happen in the perimeter. I think they’re affected by all that has happened and feel obligated to play well.”

On how concerned he is with the team keeping focused after hurricane…
“I’m not really concerned that their focus has changed. To me, they’ve been pretty similar in approach every day. I don’t think that the storm has had a tremendous, telling effect. We had a game week that ended on a Thursday and we got a good workout in last Friday and took the weekend off, so this is kind of a normal game week. There’s less distraction this week than last.”

On if LSU has a contingency plan in the unlikely event that Hurricane Ike turns toward Louisiana…
“I think our administration has a plan B ready to go. Certainly, we hope that doesn’t happen, but I think we’re prepared.”

On if Charles Scott is the number one running back heading into Saturday’s game…
“I think he’s picking up a lot of different pieces to his game. He’s becoming a pretty good third-down back and a pretty good tailback. We’re going to use him in a number of ways, so you can look for him to play a lot of football. I still think that we have to get other guys on the field. We have different talents and they’re very capable as well.”

On if the true freshman who didn’t play against Appalachian St. and don’t play this weekend will be redshirted…
“I could say that’s likely. I won’t be specific person-by-person, but I think that’s a good generalization. I would like to make sure that we all understand that when we get in the stretch run that those guys who become our better players are going to play, and if it means losing his red shirt then so be it.”

On who will play nickel if Danny McCray can’t play…
“I think (CB) Phelon Jones is going to play a lot more than he has. I think you’ll see (S) Chad Jones play the spot that he’s been playing and (S Karnell) Hatcher is a guy that might step back there and play safety. I think you’ll see more action out of those guys then you would have if Danny was healthy.”

On how LSU avoids struggling against less-talented teams…
“Maybe with the example that it’s happening all across football makes it more important that it doesn’t happen here. Maybe the fact that it’s been our example to play for victory every Saturday ? that would be an important piece of it. It doesn’t make any difference who we play. A lot of coaches are saying that, but maybe our players understand it better.”

On North Texas not being able to find a hotel in Baton Rouge for Saturday…
“That’s disappointing. I hope that they’re not too inconvenienced. I hope that they find a comfortable plan to get here and play. I understand why. I think the governor signed a bill into effect that says that no one can take you out of your hotel room is you’ve evacuated, need a place to stay and are paying your bill. I do understand that hotel rooms in this state have become a commodity and that those without power are gobbling up those rooms with power. I hope that our opponent isn’t terribly inconvenienced, and I mean it sincerely.”

On why DE Kirston Pittman didn’t start against Appalachian St. …
“(DL) Tremaine Johnson had a tremendous camp and played hard. Kirston was a little nicked and didn’t have the two-a-days that Tremaine had. I think you can count on seeing Kirston play a lot, but I don’t know if that will be significant when it comes to the future. It was a call for that game and Tremaine played very well.”

On if DT Charles Alexander will play at all this week…
“Yes, Charles Alexander will see time this week and I’m excited about that. He needs that. He’s a guy that’s really worked hard and pursued the field. He’s been injured and it has cost him playing time. He’ll play a lot of football Saturday and I look forward to watching him. We played against him a little bit today and he was rejecting some of our offensive lineman so it’ll be fun.”