Not that LSU needed any added motivation, but the University of Louisiana-Monroe sent a clear reminder to the entire nation that major upsets do happen with its overtime victory against then-No. 8 Arkansas this past weekend.
LSU coach Les Miles took notice and used that game as a prime example that no team is untouchable.
“I’m certain that that’ll be mentioned in our meetings,” Miles said LSU at Monday’s weekly news luncheon. “I know that it’s a great example of college football, and there’s one every year.”
Facing a similar opponent in a similar spot Saturday in Idaho of the Western Athletic Conference, Miles said he knows the Vandals can’t be taken lightly. He added he hopes to see more balance on offense, fewer dropped passes, the same intensity level on defense and more consistency on special teams.
“They do what they do well,” said linebacker Kevin Minter. “They have some pretty good weapons on offense. … Them being 0-2, people feel like it won’t necessarily be a great game. But when teams go against us, they bring their ‘A’ game.”
Miles said younger players and backups will continue to get in the game, but didn’t say when, shying away from the possibility LSU might have another lopsided lead at halftime.
After an embarrassing loss to Eastern Washington in its opening game, Idaho played Bowling Green tough last week. Bowling Green nearly pulled off a ULM-like upset of Florida in Week 1.
“(Idaho has) good players, and recognizing that they do, irrespective of national prominence, they are a quality team,” Miles said. “They play extremely well. … Our approach will be the right approach.”
On the opposite sideline, Idaho coach Robb Akey said he has much less pressure on him than his counterpart, almost calling Saturday’s contest a can’t-lose situation.
“If we don’t win the football game, we’re going to make everybody happy because they all told us we couldn’t,” Akey said Monday during a news conference. “And should we play our tails off and make some things happen, we get that opportunity to be the favorite football team in America — with the exception of the state of Louisiana.”
Though it might be hard for Chris Faulk to stomach a season-ending practice injury, he can at least turn to a teammate who experienced an eerily similar situation.
“It’s almost unreal the first couple weeks,” said Josh Dworaczyk, who suffered a season-ending injury before the start of the 2011 season. “But he’s a strong guy. As an offensive lineman, we know there are going to be injuries, but you’re never fully prepared for what’s going to happen.”
Dworaczyk said he has spoken with Faulk and saw him at the practice facility Monday. He said Faulk is doing “OK,” and is still on crutches in advance of surgery in the next couple weeks.
He also said he would welcome Faulk taking on a role Dworaczyk held last season. Dworaczyk served as a player-coach, helping communicate between offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and the players.
“You have to stay involved,” Dworaczyk said. “It’s going to help him get through this process. … It gives you something to do. You get to go out to practice. I’m sure he’s looking for any way he can contribute.”
With the offensive line already dealing with Faulk’s absence, starting left guard La’El Collins sent fans into a panic when he went down Saturday against Washington.
But Collins eased some of those concerns when he explained what really happened.
“My shoe came off,” Collins said. “I was trying to get back to the huddle, trying to pick my shoe up. I went to tie it up, and I started cramping a little bit in my calf. I had to lay down because I didn’t want it to lock up on me.”
He said it was hard facing his family and teammates after the mishap.
“That was probably the funniest moment in football,” Collins said. “All my family was worried at first, but then they were like, ‘I know you didn’t cramp up trying to put your shoe back on.’ It’s just something that happens.”
Odell Beckham Jr. has a short memory.
Ask him about his performance against Washington, in which he dropped two passes and fumbled the opening kickoff, and he’ll act like the day never happened.
He even tweeted that Sept. 8 had been removed from the history books.
“You just have to erase it from your memory,” Beckham said. “You can’t keep looking at it. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t go back in time. You just have to move on.”
After the game he voiced his personal displeasure through social networks and Tuesday said being hard on himself is part of the recovery process.
“That’s just how I am,” he said. “If I don’t do what I expect myself to do, I’m going to be hard on myself. Everybody has a bad day. That day’s dead now. I’ll try to move on and use it as a learning experience.”
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