LSU: Vanderbilt is "Capable"

Les Miles and his eleventh ranked LSU Tigers come to Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday night to face the Commodores. Fresh off a 37-7 shellacking of Mississippi State on Saturday, the 2-1 Bayou Bengals are happy to be on a normal schedule and say they are taking Vandy very seriously.

The Tigers are looking forward to a more consistent schedule beginning with Vanderbilt. LSU had their first game against North Texas postponed due to hurricane Katrina. The LSU-Arizona State game was subsequently moved from the friendly confines of Baton Rouge to Tempe, Ariz. Later the Tennessee game, in which LSU lost 30-27, was moved to a Monday due to hurricane Rita.

Vanderbilt's successful start has caught the attention of LSU. "We look forward to the rest of the season and a very strong and very capable Vanderbilt team," said Tiger head coach Les Miles.

Despite Vanderbilt's 17-15 loss to MTSU, the Tigers say Vandy is dangerous. "We know that Vanderbilt's capable. They lined up to kick a field goal in the last play of the game to win it. We know that we're going to go there and need to play well."

The Tigers are particularly concerned about Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler (photo at right by Neil Brake), who leads the SEC with 275 passing yards per game. "I think he's a veteran guy who's been in their offense for a good, long time. He understands what to do with the ball and has a quick release. Everybody respects what's happening there. He's doing a great job functioning their offense," said Miles.

Tiger offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth remembers Vanderbilt's visit to Baton Rouge last season when the Commodores trailed just 10-7 at the half before losing 24-7. "I thought that last year they played us pretty well and were coming along to being a pretty good team. They look like they've done pretty well this year. They must have struggled a little bit on offense Saturday night, but they're going to be a very good team. I think they're going to be very prepared. It's a game where you're going to have to be extremely focused. It's going to be another tough road game," commented the senior.

Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson feels for the plight that the LSU football team has suffered through during the hurricanes, "They've handled it unbelievably well, in my opinion. You've got hurricanes and having to deal with that, and we don't know half the story there. We've all had our own little world and we don't know what they're going through, " commented the fourth year head coach.

Johnson, like his LSU counterpart, is concerned about the opposing quarterback. JaMarcus Russell has completed 62 percent of his passes and is averaging 195 passing yards a game. "JaMarcus Russell, I think, was extremely efficient at quarterback. I think he was 22-of-27, if I'm correct. It's just hard to be able to control all that with the defense – to be able to stop the run, and play-action pass, and even the drop-back passes. I think they're very efficient," said Johnson.

The Commodore coach isn't concerned about Vanderbilt's history of losing in the SEC or the loss to MTSU. "I've really not addressed too much history. We're not worried about what Vanderbilt's done in the past. We're trying to do what we're doing this year. We got off to a great start and we just want to keep it going for us, for our team."

JaMarcus Russell not too shabby at quarterback for LSU.

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