Countdown to Kickoff
Coach Mike Shula's LSU Game Week Press Conference


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Opening Statement
 "Good afternoon. In a game like this, with a lot of things obviously riding on it this time of year, we are in a position that we haven't been in yet as a staff. It's really important for our players to continually focus on the job at hand. The job is going to be tougher this week than any other week we've played with LSU coming in with their talent throughout their football team. They have a tremendous amount of  playmakers, not only on offense, but on defense and special teams. We have to be at our best in everything we do. We have to prepare, knowing that we are going to have to be at our best Saturday, not in a way where we'd be nervous to go out and make mistakes, but we'd have to go out with a lot of confidence in the way we've prepared starting today and going into tomorrow and Thursday. I think we are going to rely a lot on our upper classmen, especially on the defensive side because of their experience and leadership, to come up and show the younger guys what kind of opportunity we have."

Coach can you give us any kind of update on J.B. (Closner)? Has he had surgery, will he have surgery?
 "J.B. is having surgery today. As for his status for being ready for the bowl game, they haven't ruled it out just yet, but it would have to be a speedy recovery. As of right now, it doesn't look great, but he is undergoing surgery either right now or very soon today."

What is the bigger picture for the offensive struggles other than losing one guy in Tyrone Prothro?
 "Well I think we've got to play more consistently. If we do that, then the points will come and the production will come. It's offensive football and we've got to have 11 guys doing their job. We lost a great player and now we lost our center who was a three year starter. You can't deny the fact that we might not be as effective without them, but you've got guys like a healthy Brodie Croyle and Ken Darby, receivers that are more experienced than they were this time last year, and the other guys on the offensive line are more experienced than they were earlier in the year.

With the center going down, do the other guys have to step up and make up for the loss with a new center in the game, or is it a everybody has to do their jobs and a new guy has to do his as well?
 "Guys like B.J. Stabler and Antoine Caldwell have to realize that this is not like the beginning of the year. You've got experience and you've got to play like a veteran. We've got Taylor Britt coming in who's a senior that doesn't have the experience at that position. We've got five guys that have to play with a lot of confidence and communicate well.

Speaking of Tyrone, is there an update on his recovery?
 "Right now he is doing well. He's obviously out of the hospital and was in our team meeting the other day. He is in good spirits and is continuing his rehab right now.

What is Caldwell's status and what are some of the possibilities you are looking at with the offensive line?
 "We are a little bit beat up, but I think unlike any other team at this point. Antoine won't practice today, but we think he will be ready for the game. There is talk that he could play center, but with him missing some practice time, I'm not sure it would be the best thing for us. Taylor Britt came in and did a nice job for us. He's got a whole week to prepare knowing that he is the starter. He's going to have to be the guy doing the communication and calling all the shots. Other guys that have to be ready to play are Justin Moon at the left guard spot and Marlon Davis to back up either guard spot.