How to prepare a team that must walk past a real, live, albeit caged, tiger when it plays a road game in which it is not favored?

Why, bring in a 300-pound tiger of your own, of course. Maybe then Mike VI, the caged mascot housed outside the visitors’ locker room at LSU, won’t be so intimidating.

“I've seen one in zoos, but I've never seen one that close,” University of Washington linebacker Travis Feeney told the Seattle Times. “It was kind of scary at first. But I'm fine now.”

Coach Steve Sarkisian, whose Huskies play LSU’s No. 3 Tigers this weekend, came up with the idea and A Walk on the Wild Side, a Canby, Ore., wildlife preserve, supplied Sheena, a 16-month-old who was pretty relaxed as she lolled about her cage.

(There’s no truth to the rumor that the punter is missing.)

“The whole emphasis of it,” center Drew Schaefer, said, “was just to get used to it now so when we get down there, no one will be surprised or caught off-guard.”

Nice kitty.

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