The game will be televised nationally on CBS at 2:30 p.m. CDT. The Tigers (3-1, 1-1 SEC) won the last two meetings between the teams, both of which were played in 2003. LSU defeated UGA 17-10 in Baton Rouge on Sept. 20 and later dominated the Bulldogs 34-13 in the SEC title game in Atlanta.
The Tigers are coming off a 51-0 win over Mississippi State last weekend in Baton Rouge. Georgia was idle last week and has not played since beating Marshall 13-3 on Sept. 18.
Last season's first LSU-Georgia clash in baton Rouge was tabbed the biggest game of the year for the Tigers. Saban joked about the pregame hype of this weekend's matchup in Athens.
"Ya'll ready to make this the biggest game of the year," Saban smiled.
The head coach said he was pleased with the way his team bounced back from a 10-9 loss at Auburn with their most dominating performance of the season with the routing of Miss. State. However, the focus now shifts to a game on the road in a difficult environment.
"I think the most important thing for our team is, whether we're admitting that we were pleased with the way the players respond to the challenge of competing in the last game, now the challenge is can you compete that way for 60 minutes on the road and not be affected in somebody else's house about how you play," Saban said. "That is something that we have not done, and that's something that is going to be a challenge for us to do against a very good football team. That's the way we're going to focus it, and that's the way we're going to try to do it."
In terms of injuries, the Tigers are relatively healthy heading to Athens this weekend. Just three players donned red jerseys for Monday's workout, those being wide receiver Craig "Buster" Davis, wide receiver Skyler Green and reserve running back Jason Spadoni. Saban said Green is healthy and could have played against Miss. State, but he is still dealing with the psychological battle of recovering from an injury.
"My thoughts about Skyler Green are is if I see Skyler Green in practice this week as a guy that is confident, comfortable and not worried about his ankle then he should be ready to play," Saban said. "That's basically what I've told him, and that's basically what we want for him so that when he goes in the game, he has confidence. I think it's not an issue of the injury now, I think it's psychologically more developing some confidence that he can stick his foot in the ground, cut, change direction and do the things that are important for him to play well. We could have played him in the last game, and we just chose not to play him in the game."
Saban announced players of the week coming out of the Mississippi State game. Offensively quarterback Marcus Randall and Alley Broussard got the nod. Randal completed 7-of-7 passes for 103 yards and no interceptions while Broussard led all LSU rushers with 73 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns.
Defensively, Marcus Spears and Corey Webster received the weekly awards. Both Webster and Spears had interceptions in the game. Spears returned his pick 35 yards for a touchdown while Webster recovered a first quarter fumble.
Special team players of the week were Kenny Hollis and Ai Highsmith.
Saban bragged on Randall and his performance against the Bulldogs last weekend. For the first time this season, he actually tipped his hand as to who will start tabbing Randall as LSU's No. 1 guy.
"I am encouraged with both guys (Randall and JaMarcus Russell) and the improvement they made in the last game," Saban said. "They played with a lot poise and confidence and did a lot of the little things we had been expecting from them. Marcus has played well at the beginning of the last three games. We will use JaMarcus Russell as he is needed."
Speaking of Randall's play at the beginning of the last three games, since his poor performance in the Oregon State contest, Randall has completed 16-of-25 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns….. with no interceptions.
Compared to the South Carolina game in 2003, Saban touched on the fact of how LSU rebounded from the Auburn loss with a dominating win over Miss. State, much like the way the team responded after last year's loss to Florida.
"Our team did what they could do in terms of responding to the challenge," Saban said. "I am interested only in getting our team to play the best they can play. I think we won a game that maybe we shouldn't have (Oregon State). Winning that game the way we did didn't help us mentally because then you begin to think, ‘we didn't play well, but we still won.' That can have a negative effect on the way you practice and prepare for the next opponent."
Other topics of discussion Monday included an in-depth discussion on the running back position, the rise of Alley Broussard and the return of Shyrone Carey. Also, two areas of concern that Saban will evaluate going into the Georgia game are penalties (9-for-64 yards vs. Miss. State) and fumbles. The Tigers lost 4-of-5 fumbles against the Bulldogs.
The following is Nick Saban's view on the Georgia Bulldogs and this weekend's game:
"The game we have this week at Georgia, and they're a very, very good football team, I don't think anybody has any questions about that, and they are good in every area of their team. Offensively, they score a lot of points. They've got a very experienced, good quarterback who does a great job of throwing the ball, is smart in terms of what plays he gets them in and out of, executes extremely well for them and doesn't make a lot of mistakes."
"They have a lot of balance on offense; they have the ability to run the ball. The running back that played very well in the first game will be back for our game, and I think he is a very good player. They have good skill guys outside who can make plays. So, they have balance running it, throwing it and they mix it up a lot and do a nice job of play action. This is a very diverse, well-defined offense that's going to be a real challenge for us to defend."
"Defensively, as always, they are very physical and aggressive. They've got very good players that play hard, they run well. Their secondary is big and physical. They are really kind of a zone team, and they break on the ball well and cover a lot of ground out there. They've got guys like (David) Pollack who is a real playmaker, always has been, and he always seems to come up with a big play at the right time for them.
"There are very sound, solid, good skill guys on special teams, good team speed. So, they're also very good in that area."
"I think the most important thing for our team is, whether we're admitting that we were pleased with the way the players respond to the challenge of competing in the last game, now the challenge is can you compete that way for 60 minutes on the road and not be affected in somebody else's house about how you play. That is something that we have not done, and that's something that is going to be a challenge for us to do against a very good football team. That's the way we're going to focus it, and that's the way we're going to try to do it."
"The emphasis still is on our team getting better and our team playing well and our team going out to beat the other team. That's really what we're going to try to focus on and try to do in this game in the way we compete effort wise, toughness wise, the intangibles we play with from a relentless competitive spirit standpoint and also on execution. So, those are the three areas that we are going to continue to emphasize to see this team grow and develop."
Saban, Tigers begin preparations for UGA
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