While demolition work began on Monday to tear down Tiger Stadium's 25-year-old west upper deck and replace it with a new upper deck, club seats, suites, lounges and a press box, LSU coach Nick Saban was still busy trying to build the best possible team for the Tigers' final regular-season game.
The 12th-ranked Tigers (8-2, 5-2 SEC) won't be playing in the SEC championship game or a BCS bowl this season, but Saban is adamant that this year's team still has to reach down into its heart and find a reason to keep playing and winning.
"As much as I told our team last week that Ole Miss always plays great against us, they didn't care. It didn't resonate. It had no effect," Saban said. "So if I tell them Arkansas can win this game and go to a bowl game, they'll go, 'How does that affect me?' I mean, I just see this team that way."
That's a far cry from the focused, purposeful team that won a share of last year's national championship, but Saban refuses to give up on this team or this season.
That's why he's pushing his team so hard to correct mistakes and prepare well for a hungry Arkansas team still playing for a winning season and bowl eligibility. Plus, the Razorbacks are undefeated in seven seasons at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium. Add the fact that this game will be played on Friday, and the challenge only increases.
"We have to take care of business in a special way when we go there and play," Saban said. "We'll have to play, probably, our best ball of the season."
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