October 3, 2006
Baton Rouge, LA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- After an early win against Mississippi State, the LSU football team had the remainder of the day to enjoy some rare free time.
The majority of the team did not spend its leisure time Saturday watching its next opponent, Florida, fight in a come-from-behind victory against the University of Alabama, 28-14. And as of Monday afternoon, the Tigers had not seen film on the Gators to begin preparation for next weekend in the Swamp.
The LSU defense, however, does not need to view Florida on the screen to remind itself of what it will be facing come Saturday.
"If I had to pick one thing [that will post the biggest challenge], I would say it's containing their quarterback play," said LSU coach Les Miles. "[Chris Leak] is a couple of years on the offense now. He certainly knows what's expected of him and what the opportunities are. He's playing like a veteran quarterback."
With the majority of the defense being upperclassmen, most of them recall the past four years of covering Leak, particularly in Gainesville, Fla.
"I made a tackle on Chris Leak my sophomore year on third down, and they had to punt the ball," said senior safety Jessie Daniels. "That's when we got the drive to win the game."
Daniels was referring to the last time the Tigers played Florida in the Swamp. LSU came out with the win in the final drive, 24-21.
Sophomore defensive end Tyson Jackson also remembers last year's game in Tiger Stadium, when LSU again barely came out with the win 21-17.
"I almost had a sack, and I remember [Leak] looking me in my eyes and stepping up into the pocket, and I had a quarterback hurry," Jackson said. "This time I plan on not overrunning him and actually getting a lot of sacks."
This season Leak is only one part of a double force under the center for the Gators.
True freshman quarterback Tim TeBowe also is taking snaps and posing a threat to opponents.
"It appears they work really well," Miles said. "Obviously the advantage of the other quarterback is no longer on the field, and the advantages of TeBowe are. I think any time you take a quarterback off the field and put another one on, you're saying you're going to be playing to his strengths. You prepare to defend those strengths."
So far this season, TeBowe seems to provide the running strength as Florida's second leading rusher, while Leak continues to prove his passing game is one of the best in the country.
The Gators are ranked No. 1 in total offense, 438 yards a game, in the Southeastern Conference.
"You just have to keep them contained and know your assignments," said defensive lineman Chase Pittman. "Everybody has a particular place they have to be. It's every week really, but playing a spread offense, it's more important than at other times. You mess up one play it can go for a huge gain."
Daniels said to keep from making mistakes, the defense's main concern in putting pressure on whatever quarterback is in the game.
"We have to stop them from scrambling and stop them from throwing the ball," Daniels said. "I mean putting pressure in their faces and frustrating them. The hardest thing is going to be trying to make it a one-dimensional game for Chris Leak because he can throw and scramble."
Regardless of who the Tigers are playing, Miles said practice this week will be normal as if it was any other opponent on their schedule.
"We're not going to change," Miles said. "We're going to do the same things that we've always done. We're going to play our style of football from start to finish."
(C) 2006 The Daily Reveille via CSTV U-WIRE