Tape It Up: LSU: Back In The Habit

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LSU: Back In The Habit

With the awards circuit behind them and the national championship game looming just ahead, LSU finally returns to practice this week, happy to have had some time off to get its long list of injured players a little bit healthier. Head coach Les Miles is proud that his team has been able to win all season despite the alarming number of starting players unavailable due to injury, but with Ohio State returning some of its injured contributors to the field after weeks of rest, the Tigers would far prefer to play their final game in a state of good health, and they seem to be in good shape to do so.

"Ohio State, I know that they're talking about returning to active duty a defensive lineman that they lost earlier in the year to a broken bone," Miles said at a press conference on Monday. "I know that the lineup shuffles a little bit that way at the end of the year, when you've had to play week after week versus quality opponents and it takes its toll.

"There's no question that at some point in time, teams are more healthy and less healthy. It's a testimony to our football team that we won two games with our second-team quarterback, a number of times our defensive line was on the sideline watching, and yet this football team finds a way to win. We'll certainly enjoy the rest, we'll certainly improve our health. We’re looking forward to returning to freshness."

Among those players hoping to improve their health are senior wide receiver Early Doucet, who led the team in receiving yards per game and finished second in receiving touchdowns even though he missed four full games; quarterback Matt Flynn, who missed two games due to injury, including the SEC Championship; various-award-winning defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who played in all 13 games but missed a number of series within those games due to injury; defensive tackle Charles Alexander; and freshman defensive back Stefoin Francois.

Despite the injuries, LSU did find a way to win almost every game this season, but Miles says that the team's success has less to do with the its depth than with the players' attitudes.

"I don't know if it's the depth so much as the understanding of the team that now we've got to find another way to win," Miles said. "We were winning with that guy making the plays and now it's a young player, it's a player that we now suddenly have to count on and there's a responsibility at the position and I think that our players understand that. I think it’s different than just acquiring the personnel. It's what we had to do to win."

The team's key injury updates surround Flynn and sophomore running back Keiland Williams, who finished second on the team in rushing yards per game and rushing TDs behind Jacob Hester. Both Flynn and Williams have been ailing in the past few weeks, but both got some time in during a team run on Sunday.

"We'll practice today and Flynn will throw and Keiland will run, so I don't expect that there will be any issues there," Miles said.

Both are expected to be ready to play in time for the national championship game.

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