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Saturday, October 11, 2008
LSU's Jean-Francois missed game vs. Florida with injured groin

ESPN.com news services

LSU defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois, who earlier this week boasted of his teammates' defensive prowess and their hopes of taking Florida quarterback Tim Tebow "out of the game," didn't get a chance to back up those words.

Jean-Francois, who injured his groin Sept. 27 in the Tigers' game against Mississippi State, did not travel with the team or play in Saturday night's matchup between No. 4 LSU and the No. 11 Gators.

"He wasn't able to do much on it," LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette said Friday night at the team hotel in Ocala, Fla., according to USA Today. "He practiced during the week, but the trainers ruled him out. And the coaches didn't want to dress him out if he wasn't going to be able to play."

Bonnette said Jean-Francois' absence had nothing to do with what he said this week about going after Tebow.

"Of course not," Bonnette said, according to The (Baton Rouge) Advocate. "He's still injured ... There's no point in letting Florida know ... We thought he would be recovered by now."

What stoked the fires of the rivalry was Jean-Francois' comments to the Orlando Sentinel.

"If we get a good shot on [Tebow], we're going to try our best to take him out of the game," Jean-Francois was quoted as saying. "With his size and his heart, it's hard to get a clean shot."

He added, according to the Sentinel: "Every lineman wants to get a good hit on a Heisman Trophy winner."

After Jean-Francois' comments appeared, he issued a statement through LSU that said, "We never go into any football game trying to hurt a player from the other team. My comments in regard to Florida quarterback Tim Tebow were misinterpreted and were intended to reflect the style of football that we play at LSU.

"We have great respect for Tim as a player and a competitor. By taking him out of the game, I meant as a defense we are going to try to make him ineffective. I'm sorry that my initial comments were interpreted another way."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.