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Tigers report: Strategy and personnel

Strategy and personnel · Notes, quotes · Inside slant

THIS WEEK'S GAME: The Tigers get an open date this week to prepare for a Nov. 13 home game against Alabama. The Tigers can no longer win the SEC West, but a strong finish and a major bowl are still possible.

QBs Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell -- They continue to share the job with mixed results. In the Vandy game, Randall completed 4 of 6 passes for 78 yards and Russell completed 2 of 5 attempts for 24 yards. Both must continue to improve to help LSU finish strong down the stretch.

DT Claude Wroten -- The SEC defensive lineman of the week, Wroten recorded six tackles, five solos, three tackles behind the line, and two sacks while forcing a fumble and four quarterback pressures against Vanderbilt.

Senior center Ben Wilkerson has been a solid, productive force for LSU's offensive line the past two seasons and passed up a chance to enter the enter the NFL Draft to return for the 2004 season, even though scouts generally regarded as the top center available. Now Wilkerson might be having second thoughts after coach Nick Saban left him in the Vandy game until the final play, when Wilkerson suffered a season-ending knee injury. Now that Wilkerson is out, LSU will turn to either Rudy Niswanger, a junior who has seen starting time at right guard this season, or sophomore Doug Planchard. If Niswanger starts at center, sophomore Brian Johnson, freshman Will Arnold and junior Terrell McGill will share the two guard positions. Still, Wilkerson's absence could make it even more difficult for LSU to run the ball against an Alabama defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation, allowing 221.8 yards per game.

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