ATLANTA — Bowl week is finally here for LSU as the Tigers arrived at the Hilton in downtown Atlanta Wednesday in what will be their home for the next six days.
Following a team meeting and lunch, the Tigers then moved on to the Georgia Dome for the first of four practices this week leading up to Monday’s Chic-fil-A bowl against 14th-ranked Clemson.
Monday’s 6:30 p.m. meeting between LSU and Clemson on ESPN in the Georgia Dome is just the third in program history.
LSU leads the series 2-0, winning 7-0 in the 1959 Sugar Bowl and 10-7 in the 1996 Peach Bowl.
“We are excited to be here,” LSU coach Les Miles said in a university news release. “Atlanta is a great place. It’s a destination for our guys. I know that they are looking forward to setting up shop here in Atlanta and getting prepared to play a very talented Clemson team.”
Wednesday’s practice came after eight workouts in Baton Rouge before LSU took a few days off for Christmas. LSU will practice 12 times with a walk through during the bowl season, something Miles said goes a long way in developing the younger players.
“In some instances, our bowl season is, by the number of practices, maybe even a little longer than our spring practice,” Miles said. “These extra bowl practices give us a chance to look at some of our younger players and improve and develop depth on the football team. I think bowl practices are a real benefit to your team as it allows individuals the chance for continued development while also preparing for an opponent.”
LSU will be tested by a Clemson offense that features an All-America quarterback in Tahj Boyd, a 1,000-yard rusher in Andre Ellington, and a pair of wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, who combined for 126 receptions and nearly 2,000 receiving yards.
“Our defense will be presented with a great challenge,” Miles said of the Clemson offense. “They have an outstanding quarterback, a tremendous running back and some very good receivers. Our defense has really done a nice job of preparing for this game. We are going to have to play well on offense and special teams so that we don’t give them the short side of the field.”
As a unit, Clemson is averaging more than 42 points and 519 total yards per game.
On the other hand, LSU’s defense is among the nation’s best in yards allowed, rush defense, and interceptions. LSU is eighth in total yards allowed at 292.2, ninth in rush defense at 101.8 and 10th in interceptions with 18.
LSU is allowing just 16.9 points per game, 11th best nationally.
After Wednesday’s practice, LSU players took part in the first of many bowl outings this week with a trip to Dave & Busters, a restaurant filled with arcade games, bowling, pool and many other activities.
Today, LSU players, along with Miles, started the day visiting the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, followed by practice at the Georgia Dome at 1:30 p.m.
LSU will cap the day with a trip to Andretti Indoor Karting where the players will ride go karts.