It didn’t take long. LSU, the forgotten traditional power for most of the offseason, needed only one game and one victory to get back into the top 10 of The Associated Press Top 25 poll this week.
LSU coach Les Miles was nonplussed, but still excited about his team after a 37-27 victory over TCU to open the season.
It lifted the Tigers from No. 12 to No. 9 in the media poll, although they remained No. 11 in the coaches’ poll.
“I haven’t seen the ranking,” Miles said. “I didn’t know what the ranking would be. I think that our guys understand that it’s just taking care of business.
“We play the style of schedule that, if we handle it one game at a time and kind of just focus on improving, we can put ourselves where we want to be.”
LSU will be in Tiger Stadium for its home opener Saturday night with the schedule, on paper, taking a downturn with UAB as the visitors.
LSU will be in look a little different for the home opener.
Two projected starters who missed the TCU game — tight end Richard Dickson and outside linebacker Tahj Jones of Sulphur — look to be ready to rejoin the team.
“Both appear ready to play this game, we looking forward to their return.” said Miles, who hadn’t mentioned last week that either wouldn’t play.
He later added that Jones, in particular, should help a linebacker unit that was about the only unit that didn’t get rave reviews Saturday.
“I liked our linebackers,” Miles said. “I think it will be better with Tahj back.”
Miles was still sketchy on the status of running back Jeremy Hill, who dressed out against TCU but did not play as part of the discipline for his earlier suspension from the team.
At first Miles said of Hill that “As figures in or not really is kind of how the week unfolds. We look forward to playing him as soon as he’s ready.”
Later, when asked if that meant Hill wasn’t in “footballs shape” yet, Miles clarified.
“I guess I should say when ‘We’re ready’ (Hill will play). I think he’s coming. I think his time is in front of us.”
On other topics:
• The Tigers played eight true freshmen Saturday — DeSean Smith of Barbe, LB Kendall Beckwith, DT Christian LaCouture, QB Anthony Jennings, OT Josh Boutte and special teamers Tre’Davious White, Duke Riley and Melvin Jones of Washington-Marion.
“We’re not done exposing our freshmen yet,” Miles said, adding he expects to see DB Rickey Jefferson, LB Lewis Neal and DE Tashawn Bower and DB Jeryl Brazil in the coming weeks.
He also said he wished that Jennings had played more than the one snap he got against TCU — a quarterback sneak for a short first down.
• Dickson’s return from injury could cut into the playing time of Smith, who got considerable playing time and was targeted with passes twice.
“I think (Smith) will play,” Miles said. “But I think as Travis gets back in the groove, I think some of those snaps will be (Dickson’s).”
• Starting defensive tackle Anthony Johnson injured his shoulder late in the TCU game, left briefly but returned. “He’s fine,” Miles said.
• La’el Collins, who keyed a strong offensive performance up front, was named this week’s SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week.
“We grade effort and those things,” Miles said. “Nothing specific. I can tell you that La’el Collins had a very physical day. He was extremely good.”
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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org