BATON ROUGE - LSU finds itself in unfamiliar territory this week as for the first time since 2009, the eighth-ranked Tigers will play a football game the week immediately following a loss.
LSU hosts third-ranked and undefeated South Carolina at 7 p.m. on Saturday in a sold out Tiger Stadium coming off last week's 14-6 setback to Florida in Gainesville. It's the first time since 2009 when the Tigers lost to Alabama on Nov. 7 and then faced Louisiana Tech the following week that LSU has played a game the week immediately after a loss.
It's the first meeting between LSU and South Carolina since a 24-17 Tiger victory in Columbia in 2008. The teams last met in Tiger Stadium in 2007 when LSU, behind the now infamous over-the-shoulder flip pass from Matt Flynn to Colt David on a fake field goal, resulted in a touchdown and helped the Tigers to a 28-16 victory over the Gamecocks.
LSU brings a 5-1 overall mark and a 1-1 league record into the South Carolina game. The Gamecocks, who are coming off a 35-7 win over Georgia last week, are 6-0 overall and 4-0 in conference action.
"Practice is going well, but it's been a little different," Miles said. "It's not the same chipper group. There's a little bit more of a want to get things right and a little bit more of a sense of urgency. It's probably good. I think the preparation's been good. I think our guys are fighting to do their part to contribute and make their contributions felt."
Saturday's game against South Carolina will mark LSU's first Southeastern Conference home game this year and the first SEC night game in Tiger Stadium since the 2010 season. All four of LSU's SEC home games last year were played during the day. LSU hasn't played a night SEC game in Tiger Stadium since a 29-7 win over Mississippi State on Sept. 18, 2010. LSU brings the nation's longest home field winning streak into the game at 21 straight, which stands as a school record.
"There are so many games that the crowd, when they're into the game and enthusiastic, it makes a difference," Miles said. "I think our home crowd gives great energy to our team, whether it's special teams, offense or defense on the field. Our guys play to them. They enjoy it. When there's a buzz and Tiger Stadium is loud and rocking, it's just what you want."
Miles said that the Tigers still don't know the status of starting right guard Josh Williford for Saturday. Williford was injured early in the first half against Florida and didn't return.
"He's gotten better," Miles said of Williford's status. "We expect that to be a game time decision there. I think it would be a little premature to suggest he's returned to practice, but I think he's done some work, and we've enjoyed it. I think there's a great opportunity for him to see what the back end of the week holds."
Miles also acknowledged that starting offensive tackle Alex Hurst has missed some practice time this week dealing with some personal issues.
"Alex had kind of a nick and some issues that are personal to him and has missed some time," Miles said. "We don't expect that he will miss the back end of the week."
In the absence of Williford and Hurst, LSU is expected to start redshirt freshman Trae Turner at right guard and sixth-year senior Josh Dworaczyk at left tackle in what will be the fifth different starting lineup - in seven games - on the offensive line for the Tigers this year.
"If you can't put five guys that are cohesive and know how to work together and understand the scheme, it's a real issue," Miles said. "We've been fortunate that we've had that."
LSU will practice again on Thursday followed by a walk-through on Friday afternoon.