Right tackle Toby Weathersby is "ready to play," but interim coach Ed Orgeron isn't certain the sophomore will start when No. 15 LSU hosts No. 1 Alabama on Saturday night.
"Toby Weathersby is going to be ready to go. I don't know if he's going to start yet or not," Orgeron said on his weekly radio show Wednesday night.
Before Tuesday’s practice, Weathersby told reporters that he had been “cleared” to play and has been rotating at right tackle with Maea Teuhema, another sophomore who primarily replaced Weathersby at right tackle during his month-long absence.
“I feel like I’m at the best of my playing level,” Weathersby said Tuesday. “I have no pain or nothing. I’m good. Ready to roll.”
Weathersby started LSU’s first three games at right tackle before suffering a high ankle sprain in the first half of the win over Mississippi State. He wore a walking boot for several days, missed the last four games and returned to practice two weeks ago in a limited role. He worked with the second string at practice the last two weeks and against on Tuesday during the portion of practice open to reporters.
Orgeron said Monday that Tuesday’s practice would be “a big day” in determining how ready Weathersby is to return against such a fierce defensive front. Weathersby will start if he’s 100 percent, Orgeron said.
If Weathersby does start, Teuhema's role is unclear. Teuhema, a sophomore, started 11 games at left guard last season. He was set to be LSU's left tackle this year before spraining his ankle three days before preseason camp started in August.
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Travonte Valentine remains third string
Nose tackle Travonte Valentine's chances of playing against Alabama are not good, Orgeron indicated on Wednesday night.
Valentine, a junior college transfer who arrived at LSU during the first week of camp, has not played in LSU's last two games against Southern Miss and Ole Miss, missing the games because of poor practice and conditioning. He remains third string, the coach said.
"Maybe so," Orgeron said when asked if Valentine would play. "He's been practicing better. But right now, he's currently the third team behind Greg Gilmore and Ed Alexander. Usually, the third team guys don't get a lot of reps."
Orgeron needed to step in during a skirmish at Tuesday's practice, separating Valentine from a few offensive players. Valentine's weight has been an issue in the past. He arrived in Baton Rouge in August at about 340 pounds, some 40 pounds lighter than when he enrolled at the university as a freshman in 2014. It's unclear how much he currently weighs.