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Mutual respect mutes trash talk

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp has repeatedly praised LSU for being a tough, physical football team -- exactly the kind of team he's trying to build in Gainesville.

LSU coach Les Miles isn't letting his team take Florida lightly despite beating the Gators by 30 points a year ago.

But LSU coach Les Miles, who will take his No. 4 Tigers into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to battle the No. 10 Gators on Saturday, already sees evidence of Muschamp turning around the Florida program.

"I think this team is well prepared. More competitive. They look like a very, very quality Florida team," Miles said. "I think they’re certainly very representative of some of the best teams that Florida’s had."

Miles' Tigers pounded the Gators a year ago in Baton Rouge, handing Florida a thoroughly embarrassing 41-11 beating.

LSU pushed Florida all over the field and has every right to enter Saturday's game feeling cocky and confident. Instead, the Tigers seem to recognize this year's Gators team is a little tougher in the trenches.

To Miles, that's perhaps the biggest piece of evidence Muschamp is putting his stamp on the program.

"They’ve been physical," he said. "I think he’s well down the road, in my opinion. I think that he’s improving the team."

The LSU coach's praise wasn't limited to just Muschamp in a series that seems to have fostered a healthy level of mutual respect over the past few years. Muschamp's had some help at a key spot the Gators sorely lacked playmaking ability at in his first year as coach.

That's at quarterback, where sophomore Jeff Driskel has quickly turned into one of the top young gunslingers in the league.

"I think it’s night and day," Miles said. "When you have a quarterback that understands what his role is and what he’s supposed to do, it just makes an offense more productive."

So despite a 30-point drubbing a year ago, Florida will face an LSU team that knows full well what it's getting itself into on Saturday night.

"We’re participating and practicing well and looking forward to a quality game plan," Miles said. "Guys are certainly looking forward to a very, very quality SEC matchup on the road."

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