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LSU Team Report
"If we improve and beat the teams that we are capable of beating, I'd like to put ourselves in a position to play them (Arkansas) for more than just 'The Boot,'" LSU coach Les Miles said.
The "Boot" just happens to be the trophy LSU and Arkansas play for annually in late November. It could be a big game if Arkansas stumbles and LSU (4-2, 1-2 SEC) wins the rest of its games, starting with Saturday's home game against Kentucky.
That's not going to happen if the Tigers don't find a way to move past their disappointment over last Saturday's 23-10 loss at Florida.
"We can still finish 10-2, and that would be good," center Brett Helms said. "We've had some losses, but we have to move on."
To do that, the LSU offense must do a better job of running the ball more effectively, turning opportunities into points. The Tigers turned the ball over five times against Florida, with four from quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
"First things first," Miles said. "Look at the mistakes that were made, get them corrected, go forward from here, know that we're a doggone football team. We have to understand that even good football teams make mistakes.
"The focus has got to be, 'Just take care of our business, get better, improve, do the right things,' and you just never can tell where we may end up in the long run."
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Take away the help Florida got from all those turnovers, and the defense did a decent job against the Gators, allowing only 97 rushing yards and 288 total yards and forcing two turnovers. Even without a running game to control the ball, the Tigers are still allowing just 10 points, 73.8 rushing yards and 209.2 total yards per game this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "There is ample talent at Kentucky to challenge an LSU football team. We understand that we are going to be challenged. They lead the league in turnover margin, and we are going to have to come out and play well." -- LSU coach Les Miles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB JaMarcus Russell -- He did complete 24-of-41 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown last week at Florida, but it's hard to get past his four turnovers or the missed opportunities. He's shown his talent time and time again, but the Tigers are still looking for more consistency and dependability, especially in the big games. "He played as well as could be expected in difficult surroundings," LSU coach Les Miles said. "Did he play well? No. Nobody plays well when we lose. It certainly was not his fault."
FB/RB Jacob Hester -- With Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent falling short of expectations and true freshman Charles Scott out with a concussion, the Tigers turned to Hester at tailback last week. He responded with 68 total yards, rushing nine times for 43 yards and catching five passes for 25 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown, but the Tigers still need someone with a burst to make some plays in the running game.
FS LaRon Landry -- Landry played big in a big game at Florida, with 12 total tackles, nine solos and a blocked punt.
ROSTER REPORT: While Miles continues to defend Russell, LSU fans are wondering why junior Matt Flynn isn't seeing any playing time. Flynn led LSU to a 40-3 Peach Bowl victory over Miami last year and is a better scrambler than Russell and could play a role similar to that of Florida freshman Tim Tebow. Instead, the Tigers used receiver Early Doucet as a shotgun quarterback twice against Florida, splitting Russell out wide so Doucet could run with the ball.
LSU most likely will play without starting LG Will Arnold again this week. Arnold suffered a sprained ankle on Sept. 30 against Mississippi State and then had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week.
Backup CB Daniel Francis is also expected to miss the Kentucky game with a knee injury.
WR Brandon LaFell (ribs) is questionable for Saturday's game.
Freshman RBs Charles Scott (concussion) and Keiland Williams (ankle) both sat out the Florida game. They remain questionable this week.
Previous Report: 10/08/2006