Saban pleased with bye-week practices

Updated: October 3, 2003, 2:12 PM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Nick Saban was wary when players went to talk to him earlier this week about the open date practice schedule.

"I said, 'Oh, no, they're going to come to me and ask not to practice as much or get more time off' or whatever," Saban said. "They asked, 'Coach, could we practice earlier in the day?' -- so if a guy wants to go home they have a little more time to do it."

Because of a school holiday the Tigers practiced at noon Thursday. The team will continue to work out through Saturday, then take Sunday off before beginning preparations for Florida.

The No. 6-ranked Tigers (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) will host the No. 24-ranked Gators (3-2, 1-1) on Oct. 11, the game to be televised by CBS.

"We'll look at the next three or four opponents down the road at things we've not seen and work on them a little extra," Saban said.

Saban said he has been pleased with the way his team has practiced all season and approached this open date as a chance to heal and improve.

"The maturity of your team and how you handle and manage these types of things is real important," Saban said. "This team seems so far to have shown a lot of maturity."

Cornerback Corey Webster said the way the Tigers practice can pay dividends, even if practice comes on an open date week.

"We work hard at practice, "Webster said. "Coach says we're a good practice team. If we practice hard good things will happen."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index