Football Increases Intensity as Weekend Nears

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BATON ROUGE -- LSU coach Les Miles said he could see the intensity in his player's eyes on Wednesday as the ninth-ranked Tigers had their best practice of the week here in preparation for Saturday's clash with fifth-ranked Florida in Gainesville.

The Tigers will practice again on Thursday afternoon followed by a walk-thru at the LSU Indoor Practice Facility on Friday before departing for Gainesville. Kickoff for Saturday’s contest between the Tigers and the Gators is set for 2:30 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised to a national audience by CBS.

“We had a good practice today,” Miles said following the workout. “We had a good practice Monday, a better one on Tuesday and today was the best yet. We’re focusing on what we need to do, and I like what I saw today. We practiced hard and you could see there was some intent and purpose.”

Miles reported after practice that junior guard Will Arnold will miss Saturday’s game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee on Tuesday. Arnold has played and started in all five games for the Tigers this year and was a preseason All-America selection.

“He’ll be out at least eight to 10 days,” Miles said. “The doctors went in there and cleaned out some old stuff and from what I understand, the surgery went very well. When he gets back he’ll be better than he’s been.”

In Arnold’s absence, the Tigers will go with sophomore Herman Johnson, who started at right guard in wins over Tulane and Mississippi State.

In typical Wednesday practice fashion, Miles had noised piped into the workout as the Tigers prepared for the noise level in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday.

“We’ve piped in noise before,” Miles said. “It’s not the first time that we’ve done this. It’s a distraction, but it’s something that our guys understand and work through.”

Saturday’s trip to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be the first for Miles for a game, although he has been there during a spring coaching stop several years ago. The Tigers will walk through at the stadium on Friday upon their arrival in Gainesville. 

“I have asked not only the players but some of the coaches exactly what it’s like, and it’s very comparable to some places that we’ve been in the past,” Miles said of Florida’s stadium. “We’re going to stop over there and see the stadium as soon as we land. There will be some new guys who haven’t been there, including me, and some of the staff, so we’re all going to get over there and get comfortable with our surroundings and take a look at the stadium.”

As the Tigers wind down the practice week and head into the weekend, Miles said he has liked his team’s preparation. He also likes the way his team has handled the mental aspect of approaching a road game against a top five-ranked opponent.

“We’ve been around that before,” Miles said of the top 10 matchup with Florida. “It’s not unusual and it’s kind of what we would expect. We expect these matchups, maybe as many as four or five times a year. I don’t think that creates enormity. We are facing a quality opponent. Everybody understands what it’s for and how important it is. I don’t think it needs to be heightened.”



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