By WAFB Sports Director Steve Schneider
The prevailing thought is that the last time the LSU football team was healthy was when it dominated Virginia Tech in the second game of the season.
That was back on September 8, which seems like a lifetime ago in what turned out to be the most interesting college football season ever.
Well, while Virginia Tech was playing Kansas on Thursday night in the Orange Bowl, LSU had even four more days left to heal from anything that was ailing the Tigers since they defeated Tennessee on December 1 in the SEC Championship Game.
Accordingly, as his team arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday, coach Les Miles declared his Tigers healthy and ready to go for Monday's BCS title game with Ohio State.
Miles was smiling and upbeat after his team arrived at the Marriott, greeted by hundreds of excited fans and a throng of media.
"I can tell you this, we're awfully happy to be here," Miles said. "Everything we've done really since we've arrived was set to end us back here, New Orleans, on this day. So this football team certainly is thrilled to be back in New Orleans. We have a great affinity for the city. We understand how important it is to our school, certainly to our state. Of course, we've had some wonderful experiences here and look forward to participating fully in this championship series."
Certainly Miles is counting on the good that came from LSU's trip to New Orleans a year ago when the Tigers spanked Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. He'd probably rather they not repeat what could have been a debacle against Tulane, also in the Superdome, on September 29. In that game, which LSU won 34-9, the Tigers took a 10-9 lead into the third quarter saddled with more penalties than points. For that matter, LSU had 15 penalties in that game and led the SEC with 113 this season.
"I can only tell you that we worked on it daily," Miles said. "I think our guys certainly understand the call to be more competent and to be better and understand certain situations and how to pull off. And I think our guys are of that mind-set at this point."
Understandably, the Tigers are in a good mood. Miles called off practice Tuesday and continually seems to make things interesting for them, whether it's singing Christmas carols or spending New Year's Eve together.
"I enjoy this team. I enjoy the men I come to work with every day," Miles said. "Great coaches and players. And the opportunity to be in a position to achieve and to win a championship, certainly a special spot. We're not going to approach it any differently. It's game week for us. We have an opponent where we'll play as well as we can. Find a way to attack them, see if we can win."