Jerald Hakwins mostly plays — and starts — at right tackle for LSU.
He makes cameos at left tight end.
Hawkins has occasionally moved from his spot at right tackle to the left side of the line, aligning beside left tackle La’el Collins. During these one-play instances, LSU normally runs to the left behind Collins and Hawkins, a pair of players who combine to weigh more than 625 pounds.
LSU coach Les Miles calls the look “deceptive” and says that the formation switch sometimes gives the Tigers a “numbers advantage.”
“It gives us a little bit more bulk on that side,” left guard Vadal Alexander said.
Hawkins has lined up at the left tight end spot at least twice in each of the past two games so there’s a good chance he’ll do it again Saturday night when LSU (5-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) hosts Kentucky (5-1, 2-1).
He doesn’t mind.
“Feels pretty good, me and La’el (Collins) along side each other,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins must alert the official the first time he switches to the position in a game. Tight end Dillon Gordon replaces him at right tackle.
LSU coaches seem to prefer running behind Hawkins. The Tigers have run the majority of time to the right side this season but have slowly started running left behind Collins and Alexander — and sometimes Hawkins.
The first time Hawkins moved to the left side against Florida, running back Terrence Magee picked up more than 10 yards running behind the block of him, Collins and Alexander.
Several drives later, LSU put Hawkins to the left again. This time, quarterback Anthony Jennings faked the run to Magee to the left, and rolled to the right for a bootleg completion. Florida’s linebackers chased the fake to Magee.
Against Auburn, LSU ran behind Hawkins on two plays — a converted fourth-and-1 and a 1-yard touchdowns.
Hawkins is eligible as a receiver when aligned at tight end. Has he ran a route yet?
“Definitely not,” he said laughing.
Jennings, Fournette to start
Jennings and freshman running back Leonard Fournette will start against Kentucky, Miles said Wednesday.
Jennings was expected to get the starting nod after true freshman Brandon Harris’ struggles at Auburn two weeks ago. Jennings started and took every snap in LSU’s 30-27 win at Florida last week.
Fournette ran for a career-high 140 yards on 27 carries in the win over the Gators.
“I think Leonard continues to improve and recognizes what he’s supposed to do,” Miles said. “Certainly he deserves a quality piece of playing time.”
Miles said on his radio show Wednesday night that coaches “have given thought” to removing Fournette from the kickoff return team. Fournette has returned all 16 kicks this season for LSU. His 23-yard average ranks 53rd nationally.
Miles said coaches aren’t yet ready to pull Fournette from the team because of his “big-play potential.” Fournette’s longest return is 40 yards.
One of Kentucky’s most dangerous special teams players will be suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against LSU, UK coach Mark Stoops announced Wednesday.
J.D. Harmon, a sophomore cornerback, will not play in the first half for an illegal hit last week in the win over Louisiana-Monroe that was not called.
Harmon has not started a game this season on defense, but he’s returned two kicks for 53 yards and is ninth on the team in tackles with 22.
Garrett, Thompson could play
LSU freshman linebacker Clifton Garrett has been injured recently, and safety Corey Thompson continues recovering from a knee injury, but both are expected to see time late this season, Miles said.
Garrett, a five star recruit from Illinois, has played in two games — against Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State. Miles did not reveal Garrett’s injury but said he “might have an opportunity some playing in the back end of the season.”
Thompson, a starter for a portion of last season, has not played this year. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament late last season and had surgery. Thompson is “taking more reps in practice” as he recovers from the knee injury.
Miles said Garrett is not scheduled to redshirt this season.
LSU had about 800 tickets left for Saturday’s game against Kentucky, said Brian Broussard, LSU’s associate athletic director for ticket sales.
The Wildcats returned 5,000 of their allotted 7,000 tickets.