LSU focusing on strong finish

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 21, 2005

BATON ROUGE – The theme surrounding the fourth-ranked LSU football team this week has been finishing the season strong and taking each game one at a time.

 Midway through the practice week in leading up the Saturday’s contest against Ole Miss, first-year Tiger coach Les Miles has been pleased with the teams approach to the road-finale against the Rebels.  

 &#8220We had great enthusiasm to it,” Miles said when asked about Wednesday’s practice. &#8220I think the change in temperature was something that the guys enjoyed. We worked hard and this team understands what we need to accomplish. For the most part, we got it done.”

 LSU and Ole Miss square off at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday in a sold out Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. The game will be televised to a national audience on ESPN2.

 LSU, winners of seven straight, is coming off a 16-13 overtime win over then-No. 3 Alabama last week. The Tigers are 8-1 overall and stand at 5-1 in league play. Wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas in the final two weeks of the season put the Tigers in the league’s championship game for the third time in five years.

 Miles said he expects his team to be ready for Ole Miss on Saturday. The Rebels, who have a defense rated among the top 25 in the nation, are 3-6 overall and just 1-5 in SEC action.

 Miles continues to be pleased with the play of sophomore quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Four times this year, Russell has led the Tigers to comeback wins in either the fourth quarter or overtime. Russell is coming off a 16-of-30, 229-yard, 1-TD performance against the Crimson Tide last week.

 &#8220He understands what he needs to do (as quarterback) and performs well under pressure,” Miles said of Russell. &#8220He is a very competitive player and wants to win.  He has the confidence of this team.”

The Tigers will hold a light workout on Thursday followed by a walk-thru on Friday morning before departing for Memphis.