COUNTDOWN TO SUGAR: Tigers settle into the city

Surrounded by a boisterous crowd of happy Tiger fans and media from across the country, the LSU Tigers arrived at the Marriott Marquis in downtown New Orleans. Many of the players who lived in the surrounding metro area arrived individually with the rest of the team and staff arriving at noon on four decorated Bowl Championship Series busses.

The following are remarks for LSU head coach Nick Saban and an assortment of Tiger football players.



LSU Head Coach Nick Saban


On team experiencing life in New Orleans


"I don't know if you ever feel comfortable. The moral temptations that anyone has, the more character you have to have to make the right decision. I trust our players. I told them that. I'm sure hopefully that they will make good and mature decisions about what they do. We want the players to have fun but we also want the players to stay focused on why we came here and I think that they have shown the kind of maturity that until someone does something else otherwise that we have the kind of maturity."


Elements of home and away game


"We're obviously not playing the game in Tiger Stadium, so it is not a home game for us. We may have an advantage in terms of crowd, but I think we need to create enthusiasm by the way we play in terms of our crowd. When we play in Tiger Stadium we say it is not the fans in Tiger Stadium, it is the Tigers in Tiger Stadium that make the difference in the game. I don't want our players to ever feel like that just because we are playing at home, they don't need to play the type of football that is necessary to play well against the opponent. They can't depend on the atmosphere of being at home to help them do that. I don't think that it will be any different here."



LSU Wide Receiver Michael Clayton


On arriving in New Orleans


"It's exciting. What more can you ask for? You plan this out at the beginning of the season, to be a champion and now we're finally here. It's a very exciting time for us."


Are the nerves minimized due to experience in 2001 Sugar Bowl


"Not at all, because now you are playing for the big game. Everything is at stake now. The most important thing is that you want to go out and win. No matter what type of game it is, we have taken it one game at a time and not making one game bigger than the other. We just want to come out and focus and play hard for 60 minutes."


Prepared for media and Sugar Bowl experience barrage


"It's definitely exciting for everybody. We are going to come out and have a fun time down here in New Orleans. It's a great time for the State of Louisiana. We're happy to be here and we are going to play with pride when the game comes on Sunday."




LSU Defensive End Marcus Spears


Thoughts on Sugar Bowl on a week away


"I'm just excited to be here. I'm just enjoying everything and seeing everybody out, how excited people are, but I know that we are here on a mission. I'm sure that we will enjoy ourselves while we can, but we have got to get down to business. I'm looking forward to it."


Are the nerves minimized due to experience in 2001 Sugar Bowl


"Not really. We have the opportunity to play in one of top facilities in America and all that comes along with the Superdome, the tradition and location. I'm only 45 minutes away from home. For me that has been a great experience from my high school days all the way up and now I'm here at the biggest game of my collegiate career. It makes you say WOW!"


How much of the Oklahoma game plan was installed while still in Baton Rouge


"I think we're still working on it. Usually during the regular season we have four days to prepare for a team and I just think we got an early look on (Oklahoma) while we practiced last week. I'm sure it will be more intense this week when we learn more about our opponent."


Biggest point of improvement individually worked on during break


"Coming into practice last week we just wanted to fine tune some things and actually work on things that you didn't do well. I just wanted to look at my opponent more and try and see his tendencies and try to find keys so I can use them against him."



LSU Quarterback Matt Mauck


Thoughts on Sugar Bowl arrival


"We just have to think of this as another game. I think everyone obviously knows what we are playing for and how big this game is, but we are just approaching it as just another team. It is someone that we are going to have to prepare for like we've done all year long.


How much of the Oklahoma game plan was installed while still in Baton Rouge


"Coach Saban tries to not implement too many things too far in advance. We've been shown some things and watched film on our own, but the majority of it we will put in while we are down here."


Biggest point of improvement individually worked on during break


"A little bit of everything. I think that there is always something that you can improve upon and I'm going to try and improve on a little bit of everything in my game."

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