Tigers finally get break to recharge

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


LSU is badly in need of the open date it has this week.
The Tigers (7-2), ranked 13th in this week's BCS Standings, finished a run of nine games in nine weeks when they beat Furman 48-16 in their Homecoming game last Saturday.
They were the last team from a BCS automatic qualifying conference to get an open date and only two other such schools -- Arkansas and Washington State -- played eight straight weeks before getting a break.
It's the most consecutive weeks that a LSU team has played since schedule changes due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had the Tigers playing 11 consecutive weeks in 2005.
LSU has not suffered a significant number of injuries for this late in the season, but it is beat up and in need of a breather before visiting No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 9.
"Sometimes we wish it could have come a little earlier," wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. "You get beat down playing in the SEC. You play SEC game after SEC game. It takes a toll on your body. We are happy to have this open date."
Coach Les Miles held three starters -- tackle La'el Collins, center Elliott Porter and safety Craig Loston -- out of the Furman game to give them extra time to nurse minor injuries in preparation for the Crimson Tide.
"We just need to get healthy," quarterback Zach Mettenberger said. "We have been going since Aug. 2) the start of (preseason camp) without a break. This is going to be a great time for us to heal and take a break. We are going to re-focus and re-charge batteries. We are going to get ready for a battle in Tuscaloosa."
The break also gives the Tigers a chance to revive mentally after their second loss of the season Oct. 19 at Ole Miss essentially ended their hopes for SEC and BCS championships.
Still, a victory against Alabama would enhance their ranking and keep them in contention for a BCS bowl berth.
LSU struggled in the first half against Furman, leading 20-16, before an offensive onslaught in the second half led to the third-highest yardage total (672) in school history.
"The game started sloppy," Tigers coach Les Miles said. "There are some things we need to fix, but eventually we caught speed and played like we were supposed to."

NOTES, QUOTES
BYE WEEK MISSION: First and foremost LSU needs to hit the restart button and get rejuvenated. After reviewing the Furman film the Tigers had a day off and three days of practice before enjoying the open date weekend. Coach Les Miles said it was important for the players "to get off their feet". LSU doesn't have serious injuries, but it does have a lot of beat-up players that can use the break.
PLAYER NOTES:
--LB Lamin Barrow was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's top linebacker. Barrow is a senior who leads the team with 64 total tackles. He also has three tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks.
--WR Odell Beckham Jr. has become the 10th player in LSU history to accumulate 2,000 career receiving yards. His 204-yard performance against Furman last week gave him 2,197 yards in three seasons, ranking seventh all-time. Beckham, who also returns kickoffs and punts, has 1,866 all-purpose yards this season, which is the fourth most in school history.
--Sophomore RB Jeremy Hill has matched his touchdown total from last season with 12, which ties him with Billy Cannon for 10th place in career rushing touchdowns. Hill's nine 100-yard games in his career are the fourth most in LSU history.
--QB Zach Mettenberger is the fifth quarterback to pass for 5,000 yards in an LSU career. He has tied Jarrett Lee for seventh place in career touchdown passes with 32.
--LB Kwon Alexander has become a fixture at linebacker since replacing injured Tahj Jones in the starting lineup four games ago. He had a career-high 14 tackles against Furman, surpassing the high he set with 10 against Auburn on Sept. 21. Alexander is second on the team with 52 total tackles and is tied with Anthony Johnson for most tackles for loss with 6.5.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We'll get some health and freshness and be ready for Alabama." -- LSU Coach Les Miles on finally having an open date after nine games.