A few days after he tore his biceps muscle during a practice in August, Quentin Thomas walked through the LSU locker room carrying heavy equipment with his arm locked out.
Trainers stood nearby watching.
“They were all looking at me like I was crazy,” said Thomas, LSU’s starting defensive tackle who spoke to reporters this week for the first time in three weeks. “I’m like, ‘What? Am I doing something I’m not supposed to be doing?’”
Yes — at least that’s what they thought.
Ruled out for the season at one point, Thomas is braving through his injured arm, something doctors can’t explain. He started in LSU’s win over Wisconsin and played much of the game.
On LSU’s depth chart this week, Thomas is listed as the starting defensive tackle — with no “or” between his name and that of Frank Herron. Thomas had five tackles in the 28-24 comeback win over the Badgers.
He’s doing it all with a torn right biceps. Doctors are baffled.
“They were like, ‘We’ve never seen this before. We don’t know how to explain this to you,’” Thomas said. “Me, I’m smiling because I feel special. You tell me I’m doing something normal people can’t do, I feel special.”
While speaking to reporters Tuesday, Thomas had a bag of ice taped to the his right elbow. The redshirt junior doesn’t describe the injury as painful, but more of a “little, simple aggravation.”
“It’s something I can play through,” he said.
Thomas tore the biceps on the third day of fall camp while trying to tackle freshman running back Leonard Fournette. His arm was pulled back in a gruesome way, and the muscle tore.
An MRI revealed the injury, and doctors delivered to him the bad news: He would miss the 2014 season.
“I cried about it,” Thomas said. “Called my momma, called my little brother. They calmed down and stuff like that.”
Three days later, he was carrying around equipment. Doctors re-examined him, and Thomas passed all of the strength tests. They don’t know how, but momma does.
“Talked to my momma and she said, ‘God’s will,’” Thomas said.
Overcoming the bad ones
Jamie Keehn, LSU’s Australian-born punter, overcomes his poor punts quicker than fans, it seems.
He simply walks to the sideline and immediately sits down on the bench, a routine that does not change.
“You just got to walk off and start again type of thing,” Keehn said. “You’ll see me after every punt: I’ll go sit straight back down, no matter if it’s a 64-yarder or 19-yarder.”
Sticking to the routine works. Keehn had a 19-yard punt in the first half against Wisconsin. He returned to the field two drives later to punt a career-long 64-yarder, and Keehn finished the game with an average of 42.5, 31st nationally last week.
ESPN’s camera during the punt was positioned behind Keehn. The punter immediately turned around in disgrace as the 19-yard boot leaves his foot. It set up Wisconsin’s field goal and a 10-0 lead.
“As soon as it came off, I was going, ‘This is not ending well,’” Keehn said.
Keehn said he dropped the ball too much inside and “tried to chase it.”
“It’s a bit like golf,” Keehn said. “If everything doesn’t line up, things get terrible real quick.”
AP reports Miami-LSU possible
LSU will open the 2018 season against Miami in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, according to a report from The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds.
LSU Associate Athletic Director Verge Ausberry said the report isn’t true and that the Tigers have not communicated with Miami about a game. LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva declined comment, saying, “We’re in discussions with a lot of places and a lot of teams.”
LSU’s game against Wisconsin last week was the fourth neutral site game for the Tigers in the past five seasons. More are on the way, school officials say. Arlington, Houston and Atlanta are the ideal locations for neutral site games, Alleva said last week. The school has also been contacted by Orlando and New Orleans about future games.
LSU does not have a contracted opponent for the 2018 season, according to records obtained by The Advocate.
Sciambra joins football team
LSU football added another baseball player.
Outfielder Chris Sciambra joined the LSU football team as a walk-on kicker. He tried out for the team during preseason practice.
Sciambra, a Baton Rouge native, kicked at Catholic High. He booted 34 of his 50 kickoffs as touchbacks.
Sciambra broke his neck while running into an outfield wall as a freshman in 2012. He started 23 games for the Tigers in 2013 and eight last season.
He joins Jared Foster as a baseball player playing football. Foster was invited onto the team as a reserve quarterback. He has been nursing a foot injury he suffered in preseason practice.
Sciambra is likely LSU’s third- or fourth-string kicker behind Colby Delahoussaye, Cameron Gamble and walk-ons Kyle Pfau and Trent Domingue.
Right guard Hoko Fanaika, center Ethan Pocic and cornerback Jalen Collins will start for a second straight week, Miles said Wednesday. Collins started for suspended cornerback Rashard Robinson, Fanaika won the job over Evan Washington, and Pocic started for suspended Elliott Porter. ... Miles suggested that Porter would sit out a second straight game. Porter, a starter at center for 12 games last season, was suspended for the game against Wisconsin.
-- Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.