All of the preparations have been made. Positions have been swapped and freshmen have been introduced. With a new quarterback, a new defensive staff and a new attitude, the Tigers are poised to erase their 2008 missteps with a winning performance on the west coast.
Headed to the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, Miles said that game day prep would begin soon after the players unpacked their bags at the hotel.
“We look forward to getting them in here on Thursday to finish the week, and then put them on a plane and head to Seattle,” he said. “Friday we will make a stop at Husky Stadium, then stop at the Seahawks facility and do a walk through.”
For the first time since Arizona State in 2005, the Tigers will open the season with a nonconference, road game. LSU - in Miles’ first season at the helm - won their battle with the Sun Devils, 35-31. Miles said that he expects similar results on Saturday.
“It is an important game,” he said. “We want to go over and play dominant football, the style that we are used to playing in a road venue.”
Miles said that he does not expect any Tiger to be left in Baton Rouge as a result of injury, though the evaluation of Junior College transfer defensive tackle Akiem Hicks will be monitored throughout the day on Thursday.
“I don’t know that he’ll be available,” Miles said. “His status was upgraded several days ago, but I don’t know exactly where he is at right now. He is on the list [to travel], but there is reason to assess him still. He was limited [in practice] today.”
Brandon Taylor, who is penciled in as the starting strong safety, was hospitalized with an illness from Wednesday through Saturday of last week. Taylor returned to practice on Monday, though he was restricted in play. The sophomore was back to full reps with the ones on Tuesday. Miles said that he expects Taylor to be ready by game time.
“Brandon worked all day [Wednesday],” Miles said. “He has not really missed practice this week.”
With Taylor on board, Miles said that there wouldn’t be many surprises in defensive personnel on Saturday.
“I think we will have four linebackers and three interior defensive linemen with the possibility of four ends,” Miles said. “I think our secondary will have certain substitution packages, but we will play the starters for an extended period. Starters are starters for a reason.”
Miles also said that senior Rahim Alem, who played significant snaps on the right side in 2008, would work at either defensive end spot.
“You will see him at different sides throughout the game.”