POSTED: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 10:51pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 10:53pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (LSUSPORTS.NET) — LSU put the finishing touches on its game plan for Arkansas on Friday as the top-ranked Tigers went through a spirited workout here on picture perfect day Wednesday as the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
LSU and third-ranked Arkansas square off on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Tiger Stadium with a berth in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game on the line. Friday’s game is between the two highest-ranked teams in Tiger Stadium since No. 1 LSU beat No. 3 Ole Miss on Oct. 31, 1959.
LSU brings a perfect 11-0 overall mark and a 7-0 league record into the game, while the Razorbacks are 10-1 overall and 6-1 in conference action.
“I have really enjoyed these practices this week,” LSU coach Les Miles said following Wednesday’s workout. “This team was a little heavy-legged on Monday, but Tuesday was really good. Today was a very sharp, crisp Thursday practice on a Wednesday. I look forward to lining up and playing on Friday. I think we will play well.”
Miles said that sophomore safety Eric Reid ran at practice Wednesday and that he continues to improve. Reid suffered an upper leg injury against Ole Miss and missed most of the contest. Miles said that if Reid can’t go then expect sophomore Craig Loston to step in opposite Brandon Taylor at one of the safety positions.
“He ran today, but I really do not have the final report,” Miles said of Reid’s status. “I suspect there to be more information tomorrow. I will not play him unless he is ready to roll because we have other players, good players. Whoever takes the field for us will be a guy that can play and do what we ask him to, period. I do take into account a guys desire to play in such a big game, but he also needs to be able to play. Again we are optimistic and he has taken a lot of mental reps anyway.”
Miles said that his team is excited about the opportunity to play another game against a highly-ranked opponent on the so-called “big stage” of national television with a great deal on the line.
“The thing that this team has done is rise to the level of competition and exceeded it,” Miles said. “They recognize that the big stage is a football game. In other words it is lights and cameras and a game of significance, but its 53 yards horizontal and 100 yards vertical. It translates very comfortably into this team. There are plays they need to make and plays they want to make and they make them.”
Arkansas represents the seventh Top 25 team that LSU has faced this year, three of which have come against teams ranked in the top three. LSU has wins over No. 2 Alabama (9-6) and No. 3 Oregon (40-27).
Friday’s contest also serves as LSU’s Senior Day as the Tigers will honor their 25 seniors during a pre-game ceremony. When asked on Wednesday night, Miles reflected on his final game at Michigan as a senior in 1975.
“The memories of my last playing days are very vivid,” Miles said. “They are of the day, and the game, you remember everything about it. I think these guys are going to be the exact same way. They will recognize they have been fortunate to play on a quality football team in front of one of the most loyal fan bases and the most celebrated game day experiences. They will recognize the plays they have made and how they were celebrated.
“I think it will be an emotional day for those guys. They are going to have to drop all of the tears and play a football game. They can hug on mom, pass the flowers around, and get a kiss from the girlfriend, but the reality of it is we are fixing to play.”
The Tigers will celebrate Thanksgiving with a team meal on Thursday followed by a walk through later that afternoon.