Players like Max Johnson and BJ Ojulari have yet to get a good feel of what a full capacity SEC environment feels like. On a team with a mix of freshmen and sophomores who haven't been in the trenches of a packed SEC stadium, the sound of cowbells will surely be an acquired taste come Saturday with some of the sounds LSU will be blaring in practice.
But the players know there's a job to do and distractions can't be tolerated if the program hopes to right the wrong of last season's poor effort against the Bulldogs. It's a game that's certainly in the backs of the players' minds, particularly on the defensive end, but with a new scheme, new coaches and some momentum riding into this game, the defense is a lot more confident.
"I definitely think about last year," Ojulari said. "We're gonna come out this week and focus on getting a win. It's gonna be a big game for us to see where we're at against another SEC opponent. Coming into this week, we have to have that mentality of coming to work an getting it done.
"Yes it's going to be on our mind, it's something that's going to push us this week to bounce back from last season," tackle Austin Deculus said. "We don't want to look back on the film and repeat the same mistakes. We're just going to learn from that.
The defense will be under plenty of pressure to try and slow down Mississippi State and the air raid offense under second year coach Mike Leach. The Bulldogs came out of the gates swinging with a 2-0 start but dropped a nail biter to Memphis over the weekend.
Ojulari mentioned communication from the front line all the way back to the secondary will need to be on cue for the Tigers to come away with a successful outing on defense.
"We love the competition, we know it's gonna be a rowdy environment so any big plays, big stops we can make to calm the crowd is going to be a big influence," Ojulari said.
Deculus has been around this program for five years and has been in every kind of big SEC environment imaginable during his time as the team's right tackle. The Tigers will be blaring the cowbell noise all week in practice and it's something that Deculus thinks is a good way to get the team prepared for that atmosphere.
It's been two years since LSU has been in a stadium like that and iDeculus said the team is looking forward to the feel of an SEC game. At the same time this is also a great opportunity for this team to see how much its improved since the opening loss to UCLA and offense taht means continuing to experiment with the up tempo nature of the offense that worked so well last week.
"When you go into SEC play, the big eye in the sky don't lie," Deculus said. "Everyone has the talent, everybody has the four and five star recruits. It's gonna be a real ultimate test to see if we've made those improvements."