Les Miles

LSU head coach Les Miles likes to mix in some trickery with his strategy from time to time. The Tigers and Hawkeyes meet in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.



LSU coach known for trickery: Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t.

Louisiana State coach Les Miles has the reputation for occasionally mixing some trickery with his strategy and that is among the things Iowa must concern itself with as it prepares for the Outback Bowl.

The Tigers aren’t afraid to attempt a fake and down and distance don’t always have a lot to do with the way a coach who has been dubbed “The Mad Hatter" works.

“I think there is some enjoyment with making a play that takes real skill to execute," Miles said after his team’s practice Friday. “I don’t know if that’s the reason you put them in. The reason you put them in is for success."

Miles said he typically plays the percentages, looking for situations when a little trickery might provide his team with an edge.

“It’s not something we do every game, but it is something we can do if we choose to," Miles said.

LSU linebacker D.J. Welter said the gadget plays motivate as much as anything.

“It kind of works in our favor usually, because you don’t know what to expect from him,’’ Welter said.

Full plates: The totals are in, and the amount of food consumed by the Hawkeyes and Tigers on Thursday night at the Outback Steakhouse Welcome Dinner for the bowl is eye opening.

Between the two teams, coaching staffs and support personnel, Iowa and LSU combined to consume more than 5,000 pounds of food during a 90-minute meal.

In addition to 750 pounds of sirloin steak topped with 40 gallons of Diablo sauce, 750 pounds of chicken and 900 pounds of ribs, the meal included 700 pounds of house salad, 400 pounds of baked potatoes, 1,600 coconut shrimp, 160 blooming onions, 1,600 dinner rolls and 1,200 pounds of cheesecake in addition to 80 gallons of barbecue sauces and dozens of cases of water and soda pop.

Surveying the scene: Iowa is practicing this week at Jesuit High School in Tampa, and Thursday’s workout included a visit from former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John Gruden, who will be part of the ESPN broadcast team for Wednesday’s game.

Former Hawkeye Adrian Clayborn, now playing for the Buccaneers, visited Wednesday’s practice.

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Moving tickets: As of Friday, Iowa has a little more than 500 tickets remaining from its allotment of 11,500 tickets for the Outback Bowl.

Bowl officials anticipate around 50,000 tickets being sold for Wednesday’s game at Raymond James Stadium.

On the bay: Iowa’s team hotel this week is the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, giving the Hawkeyes a place to call home along the eastern shore of Tampa Bay.

“It’s a nice place,’’ linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “I could get used to a place like that.’’

LSU also has a waterfront view, staying at the Westin Harbour Island Hotel just south of downtown Tampa.

— Steve Batterson