Saban relaxed to start non-conference week

Updated: October 28, 2003, 12:25 PM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Nick Saban seemed much more relaxed this week.

No. 7 LSU (7-1) steps out of Southeastern Conference competition to take on Louisiana Tech (4-4) for homecoming this weekend.

The two teams have not played since 1941. If history means anything the Tigers should pick up a victory. LSU holds a 15-1 advantage in the series that dates back to a 57-0 LSU win in Baton Rouge in 1901. Tech's only victory came in 1904 when the Bulldogs beat LSU 6-0. In 16 games against the Tigers, Tech has only scored 22 points and LSU has posted 12 shutouts.

Saban handed out a couple of cigars at his weekly meeting with reporters. He said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville asked him to give the cigars to the two Baton Rouge reporters who picked Auburn to beat LSU. The Tigers won the game 31-7.

Saban was presented with a birthday cake at the meeting. He will be 52 on Oct. 31.

"I'm still not sure if my mother thinks she got a trick or a treat," Saban said. ^------<

RUNNERS GALORE: LSU running back Shyrone Carey, who has missed the last three games with a sprained knee, is expected to be ready to play against Louisiana Tech on Saturday. That adds him to a backfield lineup that now includes freshmen Justin Vincent and Alley Broussard, who have combined to rush for 343 yards in the past two games against South Carolina and Auburn.

"Shyrone, we're going to try to work more as a guy we're going to get ready to play this week," Saban said. "Last week we were trying to find out if he could play."

Joseph Addai, who sprained a knee against Florida, will return to limited practice this week.

Carey, who was LSU's leading rusher until he was hurt, is now third behind Vincent and Addai. Saban said he isn't concerned about having to divide carries between three backs. ^------<

GETTING THE MESSAGE: Saturday's game against Louisiana Tech at Tiger Stadium will have special meaning for strong safety Jack Hunt and defensive tackle Kyle Williams, both Ruston natives.

"I've been getting text messages from friends back home," Williams said, shaking his head. "They're letting me have it. I'm sending text messages back saying 'Tiger Bait.'

"Tickets are a little hectic right now. I don't know if I'll be able to make everybody happy, but hopefully I'll be able to get a few for friends."

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