Focused on the task ahead

Tigers reconvene after Christmas break and start work toward showdown with Alabama

On the day after Christmas, most likely LSU fans were doing one of two things: Watching the Internet for news on Gunner Kiel or watching the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

A handful of Tiger fans were probably tracking both.

In Baton Rouge, Les Miles had his team back on the practice field as preparation for Alabama in the BCS National Championship resumed after a break for the holiday.

"Everybody is here," Miles said. "It's a pretty lively practice. They looked a little rusty, but that's why you get them back early.

"We are still going very significantly with LSU vs. LSU. It's a good piece of work (Monday)."

Typical of most Americans this holiday season, the players added pounds over the break that will now need to be shed.

"I checked some weights, and there was some leftover turkey," Miles said. "But there was a nice healthy sweat acquired (Monday).

"I thought we ran well. We got a nice run in after the practice."

It's not the first time Miles has praised his team for their effort in practice this season, but in a 13-0 stretch, perhaps mastering the big moment before it arrives is the key to an unblemished season.

"They work hard, and you see it in practice and you see how they will play in a game, and that's the important piece," Miles said. "You are given the opportunity to coach well when a team practices well."

The joy in waiting

The Tigers and Crimson Tide won't take the field in New Orleans until Jan. 9, meaning LSU has two weeks to think about the rematch that the country has been waiting on since late in the evening on Nov. 5.

"It's really a wonderful opportunity knowing that you are the last game," Miles said. "You get to watch all the other teams in the country play in their bowl season. It's a nice time.

"There is a lot of football to be played before we take the field, and the NFL season is on, so it's kind of nice."

Miles also didn't shy away from acknowledging the impact the extra attention of this rematch does to the team's approach.

"It's in every newspaper, it's on most bowl games," Miles said. "They're waiting for the Tigers and Tide to play. There is always a natural, ‘Hey, we are involved in that game.' "

More from Miles

On motivating his team for Alabama:

"I think they go to the field pretty easily with this one. They look forward to a game that is going to be physical and significant and they'll enjoy playing in it."

On LSU's explosiveness in all three phases of the game:

"There is an opportunity with every play for this team to make a play."

On not playing for another 14 days:

"The good news is it's going to take some time to get there, and the bad news is that it's going to take some time to get there."

The difference between playing on turf compared to grass:

"I don't know that it is noticeable so much that you can see it, but I think our guys enjoy it and I think they feel it."

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