Coach O: We had a very spirited practice today - just what I expected. The time off was good for everyone. You can tell the focus and intensity this week has been a little different - higher. We had some guys have some excellent practices. Everyone seems healthy and we had some good one-on-one battles. Guys are just fighting. We challenged both lines and they are responding. The guys in the trenches are going to have to win the line of scrimmage against LSU and I think they are up for the challenge.
Q: Obviously, you can tell a difference in their legs from the rest?
Coach O: Oh, yes. Everyone is fresh and their spirits are high. You can tell in their faces they are rested and ready to go. We practiced pretty heavy Monday and today. We will lighten up tomorrow and get ready for the weekend. I know this - I expect them to really be ready and give their best effort Saturday.
Q: Does it make a difference the opponent being number one and being on national TV?
Coach O: Sure. It adds a lot to the game. It's a big challenge and that adds a little pep to everyone's step. We are aware of how monumental a victory this could be, but we still have to keep it in the proper perspective. We are going to have to play very, very well to even play with this team and to keep it close. Some things are going to have to happen our way for us to beat them.
Q: Is this one of those games where you as the coach don't have to worry about motivation or motivating them much?
Coach O: It should be built-in. You would think it would be, but as the head coach I have to make sure. I can't take chances with that.
Q: How has Greg Hardy been looking?
Coach O: He's doing fine. He has a slight injury from before the suspension that is hampering him a little, but I think he will be fine by Saturday. We expect him to play a lot.
Q: Does a low-scoring game or a shootout favor you?
Coach O: With our style and theirs, I think a low-scoring game favors us. That means our defense is playing well, which we need.
Q: Is there a danger of watching too much film on LSU and getting intimidated in a way?
Coach O: We watch the formation and the play and then you go to work on yourself. We had a run game meeting this morning and you can't help but see that they bring it and come after you on offense and defense. Just because you have someone in the gap it doesn't mean you are going to make a play. You watch film and see guys just get physically beaten, but then you see teams that have played well against them.
Q: You have big backs. Can you try to wear them down a little in the run game?
Coach O: We have to run the ball. We ran the ball well against them last year. That is supposed to be the strength of our team. It hasn't been so far, but we it still could be and we are going to test it again against LSU.
Q: Any injuries and can you tell the difference from the open week in a guy like LB Ashlee Palmer who has been gimpy for a while?
Coach O: We didn't have anyone miss practice today other than the guys out for the year. I can tell a difference in those who have been nicked up. We had a heckuva inside run drill where guys were getting after each other and it's because they are healed some.
Q: Mike Wallace finally broke a kickoff return. Can you tell a difference in him now?
Coach O: He's playing with a lot of confidence and has had it all year. He carries himself with a little swagger now.
Practice report, Tuesday
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