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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Finally, it's getting closer

NEW ORLEANS - Is this LSU-Ohio State game ever actually going to happen?

It is at least finally within sight. In just a few days on Monday, the No. 2 LSU Tigers (11-2) and the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) will kick off already at 7 p.m. on FOX for the BCS national championship.

"It really does seem like we've been practicing forever," LSU wide receiver Early Doucet said, and he missed nearly half the season with an injury.

LSU cannot get any healthier. In the first LSU practice open to media since mid-season on Thursday morning in the Superdome, the Tigers had no players in green jerseys for non-contact other than the quarterbacks, who always wear those. My spies tell me late in the season, LSU had enough guys in green to be Tulane.

The Tigers can also not get any looser. As players warmed up at practice Thursday, defensive linemen Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey were kidding around. Wide receiver Demetrius Byrd was talking about the fun he had Wednesday night in the French Quarter.

The team had a 1 a.m. curfew Wednesday. That will be midnight tonight and get earlier as the game approaches.

"Everyone is so much more relaxed than the last time," a member of LSU's staff said at practice. "I remember four years ago, coach (Nick) Saban was all mad because Oklahoma practiced too long and we were late getting on the field."

That one all worked out too, though.

LSU coach Les Miles appears to have no worries. He's not even concerned over backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux getting into trouble in the town that curfew forgot. He has dispatched a member of his support staff to keep a constant eye on the rascal to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble. Miles did have to suspend a few players last year at the Sugar Bowl for missing curfew.

"This team is very focused, and we can't wait to play," Miles said.

Tell me about it. At least LSU changed venues. Getting into New Orleans Wednesday was a welcome trip. All of LSU's practices in Baton Rouge were in the indoor facility.

"I was getting tired of looking at that place," Doucet said.

"Just getting here certainly increases the stakes to our guys," Miles said.


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