"Oh about 14-0," Tuberville said
when asked the LSU question after his Tigers waxed
And Tuberville has won his share, whether he's looking ahead or not.
Since joining the SEC as Ole Miss'
coach in 1995, Tuberville is 6-5 against LSU. As
LSU won 20-17 last year in overtime
thanks to a voodoo hex on
The winner gets the SEC West
Tuberville actually started game
planning for this game early this year when he hired former LSU defensive
coordinator Will Muschamp from a defensive assistant's job with the Miami Dolphins under former LSU coach Nick Saban, who was 2-3 against Tuberville.
Muschamp is also a former graduate assistant coach at
"Well, I've known Will from obviously working for Nick," said Tuberville, who is friends with Saban and they share agent Jimmy Sexton. "We liked what they did down there and how they did it. I like his enthusiasm. He's a young guy that is up and coming and got a great love for football."
Muschamp replaced David Gibbs and
"You know when I lost my guy, I needed somebody who, No. 1, had run a defense and understood it," Tuberville said. "No. 2, he could give us some new options on putting some new things in for our book. Because being in this league for 12 years, people get a pretty good book on you of what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. Me being an old defensive coach, I thought that he'd have some new ideas. The other, I loved his work ethic and enthusiasm he brings to the game. He's done a good job. We're not a great defense right now, but we've got a chance to improve each week. I think he's done a good job."
Tuberville said Saban tried hard to keep Muschamp, who joined Saban's LSU staff in 2001 as linebacker coach and quickly rose to coordinator, then followed Saban to the Dolphins. LSU coach Les Miles offered Muschamp his same defensive coordinator post at LSU, but Muschamp turned it down for the NFL experience.
"Nick knew what he had," Tuberville said. "He gave Will a lot of rope over the years, and again he had a lot of opportunities to get better. Nick was very high on him.
"Will knows this league. Knowing this league really enticed me, too, other than bringing in somebody else that didn't know this type of league that we played in and the type of offenses."
Muschamp also knows LSU's
personnel. He visited
LSU quarterback JaMarucus Russell,
who is also from
"Uh, now," Russell said to answer
the Auburn question after LSU's 45-3 win over
While Russell is trying to decipher Muschamp's blitz packages, LSU's defense will try to throttle senior tailback Kenny Irons, who gained a career-high 218 yards on 27 carries last season in Tiger Stadium and led the SEC in rushing with 1,293 yards.
"This week is going to be a much bigger task for us," LSU cornerback Jonathan Zenon said.
Irons gained 183 yards in
"He's come light years since this time last year," Tuberville said.
And Tuberville has someone in the bullpen for Irons this time around. He is sophomore tailback Brad Lester, who gained 40 yards on five carries at State.
"He gives us a quicker guy other
than Kenny," Tuberville said. "Kenny's more of a north and south guy who has a
lot of speed now and can make you miss. But Brad is a kinda like throwing a
curve ball. You throw fastball, fastball, fastball, then you put a curveball in
the game. He's got very good hands, scored (vs.
The breezy Pac-10 part of LSU's and
"Next week will be a little bit
more of a challenge," LSU coach Les Miles understated after the
The difference between a great season and a very good one rests in the balance.
Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and the
Southeastern Conference for Gannett News Service. Read him at www.LSUbeat.com or in the Shreveport Times, Monroe
News-Star, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Lafayette Advertiser,