Saban downplaying Georgia game

With the ESPN Gameday crew on its way and a nationally televised audience anxiously awaiting Saturday afternoon's 2:30 kickoff, the LSU Tigers prepare for their SEC opener against No. 7 Georgia. <br><br> The Tigers, ranked No. 11 by the Associated Press (10th Coaches), head into Saturday's battle 3-0 for the time since opening the 1998 season with three consecutive wins. LSU is fresh off a 35-7 win over Western Illinois.

Defending SEC champion Georgia also enters Saturday's game 3-0 owning wins over Clemson (30-0), Middle Tennessee (29-10) and most recently South Carolina (31-7).

 

LSU head coach Nick Saban met with the media Monday and appeared to be relaxed as his team readies for possibly the biggest game for the Tiger program in years.

 

"It's not really a defining game for the SEC," Saban said downplaying Saturday's game.  "I mean, how would it be if we won this game and lost to Mississippi State? The sky will not fall. It will not. I'll bet it won't."

 

The key is not allowing the players to get caught up in all the hype. With this game gaining national attention, it will be hard for Saban's team to block out numerous distractions.

 

"If they react to it like you'd want them to react to it, they'll probably be so anxious they won't be able to come out of the locker room, so hopefully we'll try to not let that happen," Saban said.

 

Saban stressed the importance of treating this game like any other.

 

"What we've preached up here is the standard of excellence we're trying to achieve is not relative to who we're playing," he said. "That's how you get a team to play with consistency. The way I put it to the players is this is an opportunity to play. This is the kind of game that you come to a place like LSU to play, to play in, to be involved in."

 

On the injury front, Jack Hunt (slight concussion) practiced in a redshirt on Monday and will be ready for action Saturday. Michael Clayton and Ben Wilkerson each missed practice Monday with ankle sprains but will return today. Randall Gay will practice this week and will be ready for work if he is ready. The only player expected to miss Saturday's game is Kirston Pittman, who is recovering from an MCL sprain.

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