Tigers looking sharp; prep for Gators

Increased media attention, a No. 1 national ranking and a game against defending national champion Florida hasn't phased LSU this week as the top-ranked Tigers had another productive workout here Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's game against the seventh-ranked Gators.

Kickoff for LSU's first over-the-air prime time contest in Tiger Stadium since 1981 is set for 7:28 p.m. on CBS. Tiger Stadium is sold out and LSU is expecting the largest crowd in the history of the program for Saturday's clash. LSU brings a 5-0 overall mark and a 12-game winning streak into the game, while Florida is 4-1 overall following last week's loss to Auburn.

On the practice field, the Tigers have had their usual approach this week, focusing on improving and getting the game plan down, while shutting out all of the media hype surrounding this game.

"We had another good practice," LSU coach Les Miles said. "It is what we wanted. This week is rounding into shape and we are getting a lot accomplished. We'll have another good day tomorrow and dress it up a bit Friday and then be ready to play on Saturday."

Miles said one area of focus this week has been the play of the wide receivers, who appear to be a group that will once again be without the services of its top player in senior Early Doucet.

"It appears Early Doucet is getting better," Miles said. "It would be hard pressed for me to say that he would play on Saturday. He's surely working hard to make it. We'll probably go with the guys that we were with last week at wide receiver. They're getting better every snap.

He's (Early) practiced parts of each day. He's feeling good and things are coming. He's just not as strong as he would like to be. He's catching balls and running routes. It is not likely that he will dress out."

In Doucet's absence the Tigers have relied on sophomores Brandon LaFell and Jared Mitchell, newcomer Demetrius Byrd and true freshman Terrance Toliver. LaFell leads the group with 17 catches for 279 yards and one score, while Mitchell has nine catches for 104 yards, Byrd seven for 177 yards and Toliver four for 100 yards and two scores.

"They (receivers) have to come (around)," Miles said. "They had a good practice today. Brandon LaFell is coming along with being a leaders for the group. Today was a much better practice for all of the groups, including receiver."

Doucet has missed LSU's last three games with an undisclosed injury. In the two games that he did play in, he caught a total of 15 passes for 153 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Miles said the offensive line has had a better week of preparation this week. Last week against Tulane, the Tigers gave up a season-high six sacks in the win over the Green Wave. Most of those sacks and penalties on the offensive line a week ago were attributed to a lack of focus in that game.

"In the second snap of the game (against Tulane), we lined up in a simple, basic protection," Miles said. "A veteran guy, one of our best players goes the wrong way. That is an example that focus was an issue (last week). Hopefully, that has been corrected. We've had a good work week and made improvement there on the practice field. Now, we have to carry it to game day."

The Tigers will hold a shells practice (shorts and shoulder pads) on Thursday followed by a walk-through on Friday afternoon.


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