BATON ROUGE, La. — When visiting Arkansas, don’t forget to bring your Vaseline.
There’s no punchline there. It’s a real lesson LSU football can remember from the last time it visited Fayetteville in 2014. The kickoff temperature for that game was 30 degrees, which made it one of the coldest in the history of either program.
It’s not supposed to get quite that bad Saturday night — the forecast low temperature is 34 degrees, but it might not dip down that far until the game has ended. Still, it won’t be comfortable to be a person without sleeves, especially when temperatures in Baton Rouge are in the mid-70s this week.
And that’s where the Vaseline comes in.
“We had to rub our arms with Vaseline,” said fullback J.D. Moore. “It was deathly cold. We weren’t allowed to wear sleeves for ball security. They had some special something that was supposed to trap the heat in.”
And how did that go?
“That helped,” said defensive lineman Frank Herron.
Easy for Herron to say.
Moore, who spent more time on the bench than on the field, remembers things quite differently.
“Not (effective) when you’re on the sideline standing still,” Moore said. “Maybe when you’re actually out there producing some body heat. But for myself, it was numbingly cold.”
Playing in the cold may not sound fun, but it has its benefits.
“When it gets cold we’ll have some hot chocolate on the field,” Herron said. “I don’t mind it.”
Wide receiver Travin Dural said beating the cold will be a case of putting mind over matter.
“You can’t really let weather affect us that much,” Dural said.
LSU was blanked 17-0 by the Razorbacks the last time it visited Arkansas, but Dural doesn’t think the cold had anything to do with that.
“I don’t think it did the last time. We just have to prepare for it,” Dural said. “I’ll let my adrenaline take it and hopefully I won’t get cold.”
Luckily for the Tigers, a pair of key offensive players won’t be the least bit fazed by the dipping mercury. Quarterback Danny Etling is used to it having grown up in Terre Haute, Ind., and playing two years of Big Ten football at Purdue.
Center Ethan Pocic, who has a bit more insulation than most humans at 302 pounds, grew up in the Chicago suburbs, where a 34-degree November day is a walk in the park.
When Pocic came home for winter break following the 2014 Outback Bowl in Tampa, he encountered a wind chill factor that went all the way down to negative-40 degrees.
Or at least that’s what he learned from watching the forecast.
“I didn’t even go outside,” Pocic said. “I stayed inside the whole time. Negative-40?”