CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Down in Baton Rouge, there's a popular slogan surrounding LSU football that sprouted from Coach Les Miles' headwear a few years back:
"Fear the Hat."
Well, if you've listened to the run-up to Saturday's 8:12 p.m. kickoff at Mountaineer Field, it's not so much Miles' ballcap - or even his eschewing punts when it's "fourth-and-Les" - that worries West Virginia, it's those guys in uniforms he will bring with him.
You can dub this one "The Hat" versus "The Hair" - see WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen's breeze-blown, collar-challenging locks - but when the No. 2 Tigers face 16th-ranked WVU, it's going to be more about the LSU 4-3 defense that the Mountaineers' pass-first attack has to solve.
"They're as good as anything I've seen on tape," Holgorsen said.
In other words, it's going to easier to burn a couch than these Tiger stoppers.
Earlier this week, when the BCS musical chairs seemed to indicate that WVU's hopes of perhaps landing in the Southeastern Conference were discouraged, the Mountaineers were presented another slice of incentive in the Tigers' visit:
If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.
But how? I don't know that anyone at WVU has an answer for that, any more than Oliver Luck can tell you in which conference the Mountaineers will eventually wind up on the high-stakes FBS Poker Tour.
On Tuesday, WVU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was talking about watching tape of Miles' team. He has been a major college line coach for a decade in the Big 12 and what had been the Pac-10. He can't recall seeing anything quite like this LSU bunch.
"I've played great defenses over the years at Oklahoma and Texas and USC, just a bunch of great defenses, just great defenses throughout," Bedenbaugh said. "The thing about (the Tigers) is they have great depth everywhere. And they play hard. Every snap.
"I mean, they don't have a guy that doesn't play hard. They're extremely talented, athletic, physical, they look the part and they play hard every snap. And that's tough to do. I haven't seen many defenses that have done that throughout the years. It's a hard thing to do."
Forget Miles on fourth down (LSU is 55-of-86 under Miles on fourth, but hasn't tried one this season). Holgorsen is going to have to try some different things, take some gambles - on first, second and third.
"The biggest challenge going against a defense that's good, talented and never out of position is you have to take advantage of the little space you have," Holgorsen said.
"We're going to have to throw into receivers that are covered. We're going to have to run the ball into people that are filling gaps. We're going to have to sustain blocks a little bit longer. If they're playing zone coverage and we get a guy open in the middle, that hole's going to close relatively quick.
"The speed of the game is going to have to increase more than it did last week (at Maryland), and the tight space that we have to take advantage of offensively, we have to take advantage of it. But wherever the ball is, they get there real fast, and they're pretty aggressive once they get there."