Big 3: Hill a quick study for Tigers

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Running backs were a focus in LSU coach Les Miles' time on the SEC weekly teleconference Wednesday morning as the Tigers prepared to play No. 1 Alabama Saturday. Fitting, considering that these are two of the top three run offenses in the SEC. Here are highlights of what Miles had to say Monday morning:

1. Quick study: Freshman running back Jeremy Hill, who has had 100-yard rushing games and long, game-winning touchdown runs in LSU's last two games, has adjusted quickly to the college game, Miles said.

"We recognize that he has a lot of talent," Miles said. "But he's been a quick pick-up. He has a high football IQ."

Hill rushed for a career-high 124 yards in LSU's 23-21 win over South Carolina, then topped that with 127 yards in a 24-19 win over Texas A&M. He had fourth-quarter TD runs of 50 yards against the Gamecocks and 47 yards against the Aggies, both proving to be game-winners.

Big rivalry: A veteran of "The Game," between Michigan and Ohio State as a player, Miles said he had a hard time getting a feel for where the LSU-Alabama game falls among national rivalries.

"It's difficult for me to measure those things," he said. "But I do know it means so much in the SEC West, in the SEC and in the South."

Defining rivalries is tricky. The Tigers and Crimson Tide met twice in 1 vs. 2 matchups last season (one for the national championship), which made it a matchup without compare. This year, it's a No. 1 (Alabama) vs. No. 5 (LSU) matchup. But with Alabama still holding special contempt for Auburn and Tennessee, it's tricky to compare it with games like Michigan and Ohio State where both sides have equal ill will for the other.

3. Wait til this year: Miles called LSU's 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS national championship game a "last year issue."

Well, technically, it wasn't last year considering the game was played in January. But Miles' point was still valid. These, he said, are different teams. LSU, for one, has played 15 true freshmen this year, the most of any team in the nation.

"This will be a different LSU team and we look forward to playing well," he said.