Wednesday Practice Report

A now-healthy Matt Mauck wouldn't mind pulling off a similar feat against the Gators as he did a year ago. But this time around, he's hoping to remain injury-free....

Sure, he threw for two touchdowns in last season's 36-7 thrashing against Florida. But Louisiana State QB Matt Mauck's memories of the victory aren't all positive.

After all, it was a year ago in Gainesville when Mauck sprained his right foot, eventually requiring season-ending surgery.

Once he was sidelined, the Tigers struggled to an 8-5 finish after a 5-1 start under the senior's leadership.

But Coach Nick Saban said the injury actually helped him become a better passer in the long run.

"If there's a silver lining to the injury it was that when he came back, he couldn't rely on his legs for scrambling as he always had," Saban said. "It helped him improve his passing technique, and it improved his knowledge, confidence and decision-making ability.

"It made him handle some pressure in some situations where he used to take off running before."

Last year, Mauck ended the game with a 153-yard passing performance – still handily defeating the Gators. This time around, he's ranked second in the conference in passing efficiency (13th nationally).

Mauck has thrown 10 touchdowns this year, one less than Ole Miss' Eli Manning.


RB Joe Cohen, a true freshman who has played in four games, said he remains content at his position as the team's fullback. Eventually, though, the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Melbourne native hopes to make his move among the deep corps of backs.

"I'm just playing my role this year," said Cohen, who has been used primarily as a blocker. "I want to be the starting running back, but I have to do my job first."

At the season's start, Cohen's large frame made some believe he'd be better off on defense. But the former Palm Bay High standout wants to take his chance in the Gators' backfield.

Regardless of his future, he remains pleased with the potential of the ground attack. He just hopes to see it used more in the future.

"With the talent we have in the backfield, we almost have to run the ball more," he said.


OT Max Starks missed practice Wednesday with a tooth abscess. Coach Ron Zook said he should have no problems playing Saturday…LSU fans had special white shirts made for Saturday's game in an attempt to "white-out" opponents. The Tigers attempted the same technique seven years ago from this week against Vanderbilt. Reason being, former Commodores coach Rod Dowhower refused let LSU wear its traditional white jerseys at home. LSU's technique was successful, as the Tigers blanked Vanderbilt 35-0…. With an average of 264.3 yards per game, the Gators are ranked third in the SEC and 30th nationally in passing offense. They also rank third in the SEC in total offense with an average of 422.7 yards. Florida leads the league in first downs with 124.

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