LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday that he expects safeties Eric Reid and Craig Loston play against Arkansas on Friday afternoon in Tiger Stadium. Reid sat out most of the 52-3 victory at Ole Miss last week after sustaining a thigh injury, and Loston did not make the trip because of a wrist injury.
“I don’t think there’s any question that Loston will play,” Miles said during the Southeastern Conference coaches weekly teleconference. “We’re very optimistic about Eric Reid. He’s much better and he ran yesterday and felt good. Loston is certainly prepared to play safety the entire game. We’re good there either way.”
The top-ranked Tigers will need to us plenty of defensive backs against the third-ranked Razorbacks, who have the highest-rated passing offense in the SEC.
“They have a very talented group of guys that can catch the ball,” Miles said. “They spread the ball around and certainly are a tremendous challenge. Our guys are very excited about the match-up and we’re looking forward to another big game.”
Arkansas has the most productive passing game LSU has faced since its 47-21 victory at West Virginia on Sept. 24. The Mountaineers passed for 463 yards against the Tigers.
“There are some similarities,” Miles said. “I think we saw some of West Virginia receivers in a different light than we were. We felt they were more talented than we probably expected. We probably would have changed some calls and some match-ups.”
Miles said the key to slowing down the Razorbacks’ passing game will be “covering them and getting to the passer.” “The great thing about their offense,” Miles continued, “is they have balance in their ability throwing it and running it. It’s a challenging set of circumstances. They’re a talented group.”
He added that the Tigers likely will play a mixture of man-to-man and zone coverages as they do most weeks.
Miles said he sees a lot of similarities in Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, who leads the SEC in passing yards per game, and his predecessor, Ryan Mallett.
“Tyler is maybe a little shorter, but that’s about it,” Miles said. “He’s very talented.”
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino did not make his scheduled appearance on the conference call.