TIGER RAG NOTEBOOK: Saban looking for response

ATHENS, Ga. - Nick Saban questioned the heart and desire of his team in the wake of last Saturday's 45-16 loss at Georgia.

Although it came across as somewhat of a negative message, Saban meant it more as a challenge to his team as they prepare to travel to Florida on Saturday for a showdown with the Gators.


"When bad things happen to you in life, in a football game or whatever," Saban said. "I think it's a real test of your character and your resiliency as a person to see how you handle it and manage it. Obviously, we've got a lot of things to work on, lot's of things we can get better at and we're certainly going to try to use this game as an opportunity for us to learn and to get better. As long as the players stay committed to what they are trying to do and keep the right attitude, we'll have a chance to do that."


Saban praised some players' efforts in the game, but also felt as if some other players weren't giving it their all.


"We had some guys that really played hard out there today and some guys that really competed," Saban said. "I was also disappointed in the way some of the guys were playing especially early in the game. I thought we had made some progress since the Auburn game, that it was a turning point, but obviously not. But when things like this happen, players have to dig down deep inside when negative things happen and try to respond to them in the best possible way. It will be interesting to see how we respond to this."


Saban said while a great deal of people were upset with the outcome of the game, no one felt it more than his players.


"I know a lot of people are disappointed," Saban said. "But I can tell you the players are disappointed. I'm very disappointed; I think our staff is very disappointed. I really had a good feeling coming into this game, because we had practiced well, we prepared well. I thought we had a good mindset coming here in terms of how we would go out and play."



OOPS: LSU wide receiver Xavier Carter was one of the nation's most sought-after freshmen last year. He was a consensus five-star player and a PARADE All-American. ESPN ranked him the No. 1 wide receiver in the country.


But he's still a freshman, and he made a huge freshman mistake in the third quarter. After the Bulldogs went ahead 31-10, Carter caught a Brandon Coutu kickoff 7 yards deep in the end zone. Carter looked like he was trying to bluff a return, but he actually returned the ball to LSU's 1-yard line before taking a knee.


LSU punted three plays later and Georgia scored again to make it 38-10. Junior Skyler Green replaced Carter on the ensuing kickoff.


"If that had been Coach Richt, wooo," said Georgia's Fred Gibson, who has experience returning kickoffs.


- Josh Kendall, DawgsPost.com



WIDE MARGIN: Saturday's loss was the most points allowed by a Nick Saban coached team – 45 points. It was one more point scored than the total Florida posted in a 44-15 thrashing of the Tigers in 2001. It was also the most points scored against LSU since losing to Florida 56-13 in the 1996 season. It also marked just the second time under Saban that an opposing team eclipsed the 40-point plateau.



INJURY REPORT: LSU center Ben Wilkerson suffered the most sever injury of the game when he went down in the third quarter with a sprained knee. However, he later returned to action in the game… Craig Davis was one of the other reported injuries as he suffered a stinger on the back of his left shoulder… Cornerback Corey Webster, who was just recovering from a hip-pointer, got kicked in the knee, but refused to leave the game… Kirston Pittman left the game with a thumb injury that was reported to be nont serious… And by the way, Nick Saban even made the injury list. When he reported to the postgame press conference, Saban has a one-inch cut under his right eye. Reportedly, Saban took an accidental elbow to the cheekbone from running backs coach Derek Dooley.



Game Notes:


LSU's game captains are 55 Ben Wilkerson, 58 Lionel Turner, 84 Marcus Spears.

OT Andrew Whitworth (32 straight), DE Marcus Spears (24), LB Lionel Turner (20), CB Corey Webster (19), C Ben Wilkerson (19) and CB Travis Daniels (19) all extended their consecutive games started streak.


With DT Kyle Williams' sack of Georgia's David Green with 5:40 left in the second half, LSU extended its streak to 30 consecutive games with at least one sack.


LSU had two first-time starters on offense. RB Alley Broussard and FB Jacob Hester each made their first career start in the Tigers backfield.


QB Marcus Randall had completed nine straight passes (7-7 against Mississippi State and the first two in today's game) before throwing an incomplete pass in the second quarter.


Skyler Green moved into ninth-place on LSU's career punt return yards with his first return of the game, a 16-yard return in the second quarter. He passed Todd Kinchen (475 career yards from 1989-1991). Green finished the game with 16 return yards and now has 483.


WR Skyler Green extended his streak to 19 straight games with a reception. He pulled down a pass from QB Marcus Randall in the first quarter.


WR Dwayne Bowe pulled down his fifth touchdown reception of the season, an 18-yard pass from QB JaMarcus Russell with 1:23 left in the second quarter. LSU's record for touchdown catches in a season is 11 set by Devery Henderson in 2003.


WR Xavier Carter recorded his second touchdown reception of the season, a two-yard pass from Marcus Randall. It was Randall's third touchdown pass of the year.

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