Tigers avoid the wet stuff, practice indoors

LSU went back to work Tuesday in shorts and helmets with a light workout at the Charles McClendon Indoor Practice Facility.

The Tigers practiced for the first time since beating Vanderbilt, 24-7, on Saturday in Tiger Stadium. The win pushed the Tigers to No. 17 in the rankings and moved LSU's record to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

With an open date scheduled for Saturday, the Tigers will practice again on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before taking the weekend off. LSU returns to action on Nov. 13, hosting Alabama in Tiger Stadium in a game televised by ESPN.

LSU spent a portion of Tuesday's practice correcting the mistakes from the Vanderbilt game, a contest the Tigers dominated on both sides of the ball.

"I'm very encouraged by the way our team responded in the last game and actually the way we played against Vanderbilt," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "We didn't finish some things in the game in terms of early in the game where we could have scored some points. We were in the red zone a couple of times and only got three points out of it and had good field position a couple of times and couldn't put it together, but we moved the ball effectively.

"Defensively, we played hard, made a lot of plays and played really well up front."

Saban also singled out the play of the LSU special teams against the Commodores as the Tigers returned a punt for a touchdown as well as blocking a Vanderbilt field goal.

"It's the best game we've had all year on special teams in terms of making a big plays." Saban said. "We returned a punt for a touchdown, blocked a field goal and had some other returns that gave us decent field position. I felt like, for the first time this year on special teams, that we really controlled field position."

Saban also noted that he's pleased with the way the team's chemistry has progressed and the team's mindset heading into the final three games of the season.

"I was really encouraged by the inspiration of the team and how the team is really responding to the situation that we're in," Saban said. "I feel the best right now about the chemistry that we have as a team and how things are going. This is a bye week. When this week is over, we've got a 3-game season and really everything about this team is going to be determined by how we play in the last three games.

"So we're going to do the best we can to continue to improve and I was encouraged by the players' attitudes towards trying to do that today at practice."

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LSU senior center Ben Wilkerson is resting well after a successful surgery to repair the patella tendon in his left knee, Saban said on Tuesday. Saban said he spent an hour with Wilkerson on Monday night and that he's in good spirits.

"You've got to know that it's unfortunate anytime anybody gets injured. The only thing Ben told me he was sad about was that his parents weren't there to see him play in his last (collegiate) game. His spirits were good. He's very positive. He wants to be involved with what the offensive line is doing."

Saban also said the Tiger offensive line with wear a No. 55 decal on the back of their helmets to honor Wilkerson, who had started 41 games during his career with the Tigers. LSU posted a 33-8 mark with Wilkerson as the starting center.

"You're talking about as fine a young man, as positive a person, as good a character as you're ever going to find anywhere in the world. He's learned how to overcome adversity here, and this is adversity for all of us. It's unfortunate that these things happen, but they happen."

Saban noted that Wilkerson's injury won't affect his draft status, that he should be ready to workout for NFL teams and participate in the NFL Combine in the spring.

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