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Tigers report: Inside slant

 
Inside slant · Notes, quotes · Strategy and personnel
 

After winning the national championship last year, LSU coach Nick Saban was concerned that his team would forget how to play "the LSU way" this season.

That was apparent in a near-miss 22-21 overtime win over Oregon State and last week's 10-9 loss at Auburn.

"There's no doubt that our team lost some of the toughness, lost some of the competitive edge," Saban said. "Everybody got worried about winning. Everybody got worried about the results. Everybody got nervous at the end of the game (at Auburn).

"That ain't how we play. We've never played that way. That's for the fans."

The biggest problem, Saban said, was the way the Tigers let themselves get caught up in outside expectations.

"All the hoopla about repeating and doing this and doing that," Saban said. "Too many interviews. Too much hearing about what we did and not about what we need to do now, and that none of what we did is going to help us with what we've got to do now."

As far as Saban is concerned, the 13th-ranked Tigers (3-1, 1-1 SEC) took a step back in the right direction on Saturday by manhandling Mississippi State 51-0.

LSU dominated in every phase of the game and outgained the Bulldogs 509 yards to 130, yet Saban still came away from the game wondering whether or not his team got the message as the Tigers turn their attention toward Saturday's game at No. 3 Georgia.

"We did this once, now are we going to be satisfied with that or is this going to be the trademark of the team," Saban said. "Can we go down the stretch and do it like we did last year, game in and game out?"

Not even the Tigers know for certain, but they seem to be back on the right track for now.

"The first step to rehabilitation is admitting your problems," senior defensive end Marcus Spears said. "It's on the road back. It's not back yet."

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