Les Miles seemed practically giddy after LSU’s, 24-19, victory at Texas A&M.
It was 3:30. He was done for the day.
For a coach and a program accustomed to playing football under the lights, having an afternoon and evening off is a rarity. Miles said he planned on eating and watching football from the comfort of his home.
His players did the same.
“I was definitely weird,” said junior defensive end Barkevious Mingo. “I think we got back around five. I actually got to watch some football games that day. I don’t want to play that early again, but getting off that early is kinda fun.”
The evening hiatus from football was the prelude to LSU’s open week. A well-earned break from the eight week grind. Dating back to late August, the Tigers have been in rigorous preparation for an upcoming game.
The constant recycling of game week doesn’t allow for proper healing. Players with nagging injuries tape them up and take the field. Bumps and bruises are second thoughts.
Not this week.
“The bye week is for getting guys back from injuries and getting old injuries healed up,” said junior defensive tackle Bennie Logan. “In the Texas A&M game, the defense played 105 snaps. You don’t want to go from that week, playing 105 snaps, to playing a Bama, a physical team. This is good preparation to get everybody healthy.”
The Tigers took Monday off, allowing the players to rest and freeing the coaches up to do some recruiting, a chore that never ceases.
When LSU returned to the practice field Tuesday, the players said the open date didn’t detract from the energy level.
“As far as practice goes, it’s still practice,” said sophomore defensive end Jermauria Rasco. “We’re still practicing like we’ve got a game.”
After Friday’s light workout, the coaching staff will release the squad for the weekend. Many of the Tigers plan to head wherever home may be. For many, it’s a quick trip.
Just mentioning the thought of heading home was enough to light up some faces around the facility.
“Oh yeah (I’m going home),” Mingo said with a smile. “As soon as I get stuff done (Friday). I’ll be home by 4 o’clock.”
The players glowed about home-cooked meals, sleeping in and time away from the mental grind of school and game plans.
They talked about watching television, too.
“Oh yeah, I’m definitely going to watch the Alabama-Mississippi State game,” Logan said. “And I’m going to take notes, too.”
The players all know what lies ahead. A weekend of relaxation doesn’t camouflage what has been the most anticipated game in recent history.
Alabama, currently ranked atop the polls, will arrive in Baton Rouge next weekend. Rested and recuperated, the Tigers will be ready.
“When I come back to Baton Rouge, I’ll really just key into the game plan and Bama,” Logan said.