PETERMAN: Been there, Done that

Football is what I do for a living, but as everyone knows now more than ever, is that family and home is what is truly important.

It is much bigger than football.

Even though we play on such a great stage, and Tiger Stadium is the grandest of them all, it seems so trivial compared to the many foundations that were stripped away recently by Hurricane Katrina.

However, the Tigers can continue to provide a source of tremendous inspiration during such a difficult time. My heart goes out to all of those that lost so much, including my own family. I can not express how impressive the win against Arizona State was with all that was going on around the team. I can honestly say that during my career as a Tiger, I never had to deal with so much personal adversity as the members of this team. I never had practices interrupted indefinitely, countless friends and family staying with me on couches and floors, and such a heavy heart as the members of this team have had to deal with.

It truly is amazing.

As for this weeks game, another big test awaits versus the Tennessee Volunteers. Coming off a tough loss to Florida, I am sure the Vols will give their absolute best. Their backs will be against the proverbial wall after Saturday's 16-7 defeat in the Swamp. The Tigers again will have a difficult task as well.

I don't remember seeing LSU's offense look so good so early in the season. JaMarcus looked extremely poised for a young quarterback. The backs looked tremendous, as well as the offensive guys!! There were, of course, the first game mistakes. Some of them seemed reminiscent of the Virginia Tech opener on the road a few years ago....too many dropped balls. They will be corrected I am sure. I have had a chance to visit with Coach Miles and, of course, know the staff that is still here. They are quite capable of addressing the minor adjustments on offense.

As for the defense, give them a chance. LSU has some special athletes out there that are capable of great things. I am sure the staff will give them more opportunities to make plays. However, in the end, the players play the game, not the coaches. The players must execute each and every down to be successful.

Tennessee seems very straightforward, but they always have been. They have a good offensive line and run the ball well. The Vols will try to run first and then hit the home run deep. LSU should be ready for that and do well. The Tigers defensive line is solid. Kyle Williams has really taken over. He is a true "tough guy."

The special teams have not looked this good as a whole in quite a while. In big games, they always play a big role in the outcome. This game will be no different. Tennessee struggled at times on special teams against Florida. If they don't straighten that out, it could be a long night for Phil Fulmer's crew.

In the end, the greatest fans in America could make the difference. When I first played in Tiger Stadium, we not only challenged ourselves to play 60 minutes, but we challenged the fans to do the same.

Saturday night is the fans night also.

A chance for all of America to see how great LSU truly is.

A chance for them to know we are all right.

A chance for us to show them how thankful we are.

A chance for the Tigers to inspire so many in need.

As I used to tell a young number 76, CHIN UP! The Vols are coming to town and its time to lead the Tigers to a big win....for the team, for the coaches, and most importantly for the fans... our family and our home.

God Bless and Geaux Tigers.


Stephen Peterman is currently in his second season as an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys. An all-American guard on LSU's 2003 national championship team, Peterman and wife Colleen are the parents two sons, Stephen Jr. and Timothy and make their home in Dallas.

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