Looking forward to Saturday night

The Tigers were forced indoors on Wednesday as they continued to prepare for North Texas and with one more practice slated for Thursday it is time for Les Miles and the coaches to put the finishing touches on Saturday's game plan.

“The rain earlier in the day kind of scared us inside,” Miles said. “We wanted to make sure we could throw and catch. This was a big work day and we got a lot done. We’ll tone down and take some time off the practice field tomorrow, pull the reigns back, and be ready to play.”

 

Of course, Miles and the team are much more comfortable now knowing they will in fact be playing at home in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night for the first time all year and that Hurricane Ike will be far away from Baton Rouge.

 

“Everybody is excited about Tiger Stadium and being at home,” Miles said. “It’s wonderful. I hope that wherever Ike ends up its desolate and not too terrible.”

 

While it’s looking like residents of Texas will be dealing with Ike, many in Louisiana are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. Miles is hoping his team can give those Louisiana residents something positive to look forward to this weekend.

 

“I think our team identifies very strongly with this state and those things that happened in the perimeter,” he said. “I think they’re affected by all that’s happened and they feel obligated to play well.”

 

After seeing a pretty vanilla offense against Appalachian State, Tiger fans are hoping to see a more wide open attack this week. But Miles says to look for more of the same.

 

“I think it’s going to be the same,” he said. “You might see some differences because there have been some twists with the passing attack, but that happens every week. I think the running game is going to be very similar. Hopefully we have better execution and precision on both ends.”

 

One part of the offense that was not vanilla in the season opener was the running game, led by Charles Scott. Miles is very excited about Scott’s progress thus far, as well as his future.

 

“I think he’s picking up a lot of different pieces to his game,” Miles said of Scott. “He’s becoming a pretty good third down back and pretty good tailback. We’re using him in a number of ways. I look for him to play a lot of football.”

 

As of right now, the only player expected to miss Saturday’s game is starting nickel back Danny McCray. Those that are expecting Chad Jones to step in for McCray may be in for a surprise

 

“Phelon Jones is planning to play a lot more than he has,” said the headman. “Chad will play the spot he normally plays. And maybe Karnell Hatcher would be another guy to step back there and play safety. I think both those guys will see more action than they normally would.”

 

After missing most of last season with a torn ACL, a strained hamstring held Charles Alexander out of the season opener. The big defensive tackle is scheduled to make his season debut on Saturday.

 

“Charles Alexander will see time this week and I’m excited about that,” Miles said. “He needs that. He’s a guy that’s really worked hard and pursued the field. He’s been injured and that cost him playing time that he certainly would’ve enjoyed.”

 

“He’ll play a lot of football Saturday and I’m looking forward to watching him. We played against him a little bit today and he was rejecting some of our offensive linemen, so it’ll be fun.”

 

Another surprise from week one was seeing Tremaine Johnson line up as the starter at right defensive end instead of Kirston Pittman, who started every game at right end in 2007. Miles says the reason was a combination of Pittman being injured and Johnson playing well.

 

“Tremaine Johnson has had a really good camp and played hard,” he said. “Kirston Pittman was a little nicked and didn’t have the two a days that Tremaine had, so we had to go with the best player. But I think you can count on seeing Kirston play a lot.”

 

Tiger fans should not read too much into that move, though, because Miles did clarify that Johnson has not necessarily passed Pittman on the depth chart.

 

“No not at all,” Miles said of Johnson now being ahead of Pittman. “It was a call for that game and he played awfully well. We’ll reward him again this week.”

 

Miles also mentioned that any true freshmen that do not play this Saturday are most likely headed for a redshirt.


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