BATON ROUGE — If history is any guide, as opposed to LSU Coach Les Miles’ guide to history, the Tigers might be facing some injury issues.
Miles shut down the limited access to practice he had been allowing this season, a lockdown step he took last year after wide receiver Early Doucet, among others, experienced an injury that forced him to miss games. In addition, Miles said Monday he anticipated having all of his players in uniform by the middle of the week but sidestepped who might miss practices as No. 13 LSU (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) prepares to play at South Carolina on Saturday night.
“I think there are a couple of guys that are a little nicked that probably won’t get practice time today, certainly, but again, I expect that by Tuesday or Wednesday everybody would return to practice, ” he said.
Miles smiled and declined to provide jersey numbers when asked.
Junior defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois did not make the trip to Florida last week, reportedly because of injury, and Miles said earlier this week his status is not clear. Jean-Francois’ linemate, senior Charles Alexander, also has been nursing an assortment of nicks throughout the season, although he played in the Tigers’ 51-21 loss to the Gators.
Alexander said Tuesday that pain has been a constant during his LSU career, an odyssey that has seen him miss whole seasons and lose most of last year’s after earning a starting job. He plans to play against the Gamecocks (5-2, 2-2), he declared.
“I’m feeling pretty good, ” he said, adding he did some running during Tuesday’s drills. “It’s all about being a warrior. If I feel I can walk, if I feel I can run, I want to go out there and contribute in the best way I can.”
For the most part, the Tigers came out of their defeat in Gainseville, Fla., with team health more intact than their pride.
Tigers senior linebacker Darry Beckwith returned to action against the Gators and insisted Monday he was fine, as did junior tight end Richard Dickson, an important cog in LSU’s passing attack who had a touchdown catch at Florida but took several hard hits in the game and afterward was seen wearing a protective boot. Dickson said Monday the boot is gone, but on Tuesday he was in the parking lot during practice with his left ankle and calf heavily taped.
FALL FROM GRACE: LSU finds its statistical positions headed in the wrong directions after the Florida debacle.
On some of the power rankings, for example, LSU is down in the 30s.
Meanwhile, junior tailback Charles Scott, the subject of a fledgling Heisman Trophy campaign two weeks ago, now has slipped out of the top 10 NCAA running backs rankings. Scott, however, saw little daylight against the Gators, and neither he nor the team are worried about his ability.
The defense, long an LSU staple, is another story, according to the NCAA tables. In the SEC, the Tigers have slipped to an uncharacteristic ninth in total defense. The best in the conference in that stat, which is based on yards surrendered per game? South Carolina, LSU’s next opponent.