The LSU football team will show off a newly renovated stadium Saturday in the Tigers’ home opener against Sam Houston State, and LSU coach Les Miles hopes the fans show up in droves to see it.
The new facelift has expanded Tiger Stadium to a capacity of 102,321, and Miles said he’s itching to get the first game in the updated venue under his belt.
“I would certainly say christening the stadium is something the team, the fans and the faithful should understand,” Miles said. “It should be a loud and very enthusiastic crowd.”
Although Tiger Stadium can fit almost 10,000 more fans than it previously could, Miles said he couldn’t imagine a louder venue affecting his players.
“They have always played in front of a stadium that is full and loud,” Miles said. “They would not recognize Tiger Stadium any other way.”
Miles also said he did not expect the new design to cause any unexpected problems other than a possible slight difference in wind conditions.
OFFENSIVE LINE LOOKS TO IMPROVE
The Tigers’ offensive front struggled in the first half of its debut against a young Wisconsin front seven, but Miles predicted little shake-up for this weekend’s contest.
He praised senior right guard Hoko Fanaika for his performance in practice this week and confirmed sophomore Ethan Pocic as the starting center against Sam Houston State. He remains unsure as to whether or not senior center Elliott Porter will see the field.
“There were some guys in the first game who started that had some miscues, but that’s all part of the first game,” Miles said. “[Fanaika’s] had a really good week of practice, and he really was pretty physical in [the Wisconsin] game.”
He also named senior offensive lineman Evan Washington as the backup at every position on the offensive line.
After a game against a run-heavy Wisconsin team, the Bearkats will be a change in pace for LSU’s defense as they have averaged more than 613 yards of total offense and 43 points in their first two games this season.
Sam Houston State is led by sophomore quarterback Jared Johnson, who has completed 62 passes on 99 attempts for 703 yards and five touchdowns. He also poses a threat on the ground, garnering 95 yards and a touchdown in 17 rush attempts this season.
Miles displayed confidence in the Tigers’ ability to put its last contest behind them and properly prepare for a different style of offense.
“We shift gears pretty effectively,” Miles said. “Our coaches understand it’s a different week completely.”
You can reach Tyler Nunez on Twitter @Nunez_TDR