published Friday, November 1st, 2013

Alabama, LSU not obsessing on matchup

LSU safety Eric Reid (1) intercepts the ball from Alabama tight end Michael Williams (89) during the 2011 game in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
LSU safety Eric Reid (1) intercepts the ball from Alabama tight end Michael Williams (89) during the 2011 game in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs is tackled by Alabama defenders Adrian Hubbard, left, and Trey DePriest on Oct. 26 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Next week's Alabama-LSU football game can stay there.

Both Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and LSU counterpart Les Miles are not delving obsessively into next Saturday night's showdown in Bryant-Denny Stadium. This week's open date is the second of the season for Alabama, and it's the first one for the Tigers, who get their second off week when they return from Tuscaloosa.

"We've played nine straight weeks, so we're kind of due," Miles said this week. "I think our guys are enjoying this time off and getting their legs back fresh."

Open dates are nothing new for the Crimson Tide and Tigers entering their annual showdown, which will be televised by CBS in prime time for a third consecutive year. LSU has an off week before facing Alabama for a fourth straight year, while the Tide are off for a fourth time in five years before facing the Tigers.

Alabama and LSU practiced Tuesday through Thursday this week and have the weekend off.

"You can't use the whole two weeks to prepare for the game, and I've never believed in that," Saban said. "I think that's when players sort of get a little bit tired of the same things over and over and over, and by the time the game comes, they're sort of mentally and psychologically drained.

"Not that we won't use this week to look at some things that they do that we need to practice against, but psychologically we're not focusing on the game until a specific time. This game means a lot to both teams, so you don't want to wear them out with it."

LSU has won two of the past three regular-season meetings against Alabama, and Miles doesn't sense his Tigers are consuming themselves this week with the matchup.

"They'll recognize what it's going to take to prepare and look at it with the idea that it will be a week from this Saturday and understand the time frame," Miles said. "I have not seen them in any of the times that we've prepared for this team with an open week have the likelihood to get prepared too early."

The Tigers will be taking their first trip to Tuscaloosa since prevailing 9-6 in overtime in 2011. LSU entered that game ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings with Alabama No. 2, and it was the first 1-2 pairing of Southeastern Conference teams in a regular-season matchup.

Alabama missed four field-goal tries, but Drew Alleman made all three of his attempts as the Tigers won the "Game of the Century."

"Playing a very capable opponent at their own stadium and calling a regular-season game the Game of the Century -- I think it was a stretch," Miles said. "I enjoyed the hoopla, and I think our team did, but we weren't built based on that one being the game of the century. We felt like it was a great game, certainly, and one that we took pride, but I think every year that there's that next game of the century."

Alabama and LSU played again just two months later in the BCS championship game in New Orleans, with the Crimson Tide winning the rematch 21-0.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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