Football Begins Capital One Bowl Prep

by Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Football Begins Capital One Bowl Prep

BATON ROUGE ? After two weeks off from football, LSU went back to work on Monday as the Tigers held their first practice in preparation for Penn State and the Capital One Bowl.

LSU (9-3) and Penn State (10-2) will meet at noon on Jan. 1 in the Capital One Bowl. The game will be televised nationally by ABC and will mark only the second meeting between the teams. Penn State beat the Tigers, 16-9, in the 1974 Orange Bowl.

Monday’s workout was the first of nine workouts for the Tigers before breaking for three days for Christmas. LSU will practice through Dec. 22 in Baton Rouge and then resume workouts in Orlando on Dec. 26.

“It looked like the first bowl practice,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “The tempo was good, but it was a little sloppy. It was more offense versus defense and not necessarily bowl preparation. We are just kind of getting our feet underneath us and getting back to the tempo of practice and the speed of the game. It was a nice start, but it was the first practice.”

Monday’s workout also saw a pair of new faces on the field for the Tigers as Frank Wilson and Billy Gonzales watched the workout. Wilson and Gonzales officially joined the Tiger staff last week. Miles said Wilson and Gonzales were observers on Monday and will continue to watch and learn until they are cleared to participate in practices.

“The new coaches were unable to coach or participate in meetings or practice today,” Miles said. “The two new ones watched practice from the perimeter. They could not participate in meetings and could not participate in tactical coaching. All they did today was meet players and watch practice.

“I’m certain that our administration is handling waivers and appeals so they can come to the field effectively. We do not know the relationship that coach (Larry) Porter will have or if we will be allowed to use him in bowl practice. That’s kind of what we’re waiting on.”

Porter was recently hired as the head coach at Memphis, while Wilson came to LSU from Tennessee and Gonzales from Florida.

Miles said the Tigers will practice hard for three days before using Thursday as more of a special teams and kicking workout. The Tigers will then have lengthy workouts on Friday and Saturday before scaling back on Sunday.

“Yes, that’s a goal for the first three practices,” Miles said when asked about getting the players legs back under them after the two week layoff. “We’ll run them and practice long and then take a little bit of a break to freshen them up around Thursday. We’ll do more of a special teams (practice). We’ll go hard on Friday and Saturday and then cut back on Sunday.”