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LSU defensive back Donte Jackson (1) slips the tackle by Southern Miss defensive back Curtis Mikell (19) in the first half, Saturday, October 15, 2016, at LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

Cornerback Donte Jackson, not running back Derrius Guice, will be returning kicks for No. 25 LSU going forward, interim coach Ed Orgeron indicated.

In a Tuesday morning interview with “Culotta and The Fan” on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge, Orgeron said he likes what Jackson brings to the kick returner spot.

“I like Donte,” Orgeron said. “I think Donte is very good. I think he’s explosive, and we plan on him having a great career back there.”

Guice was the Tigers (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) primary kick returner at the end of last season, but he and Jackson have split time this season. Jackson suggested Monday the kick returner rotation is controlled by special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto and is dependent on the game plan.

On the season, Guice is averaging yards 20.8 yards on five returns, while Jackson is averaging 31 yards on three returns.

“It really doesn’t matter,” Jackson said. “You don’t lose a beat with me or Derrius back there.”

Jackson totaled 53 yards on two kick returns against Southern Miss last Saturday, one of which was called back by a penalty. Jackson also had a 101-yard kick return for a touchdown called back against Jacksonville State.

Though running back Leonard Fournette is returning to the lineup, Jackson said that doesn’t have any bearing on whether Guice returns kicks.

In Fournette’s absence against Missouri in Week 5, Guice started at running back and lined up as the kick returner. He didn’t record any return yardage in that game.

“I guess it just goes with the game plan – what guys like to do and what are their weaknesses, how can I beat them or how can Derrius beat them,” Jackson said.

The defensive back also feels like he’s close to breaking off a long return that actually counts.

“Very close,” Jackson said. “I want one. I want one to actually count."

Etling on Purdue

Purdue on Sunday joined LSU as the second Big Five conference school with a head coaching vacancy, firing Darrell Hazell after a 9-33 record over 3½ seasons.

Hazell was the coach when LSU quarterback Danny Etling was there. Now his former LSU coach, Les Miles, has been mentioned by several national outlets as a possible replacement at the Big Ten school.

Miles, who hasn’t spoken to local media since his firing Sept. 25, has said in national interviews he wants to coach again.

“Coach Miles is a great coach,” Etling said Monday. “Purdue would be lucky to have him.”

Etling said Purdue’s interim coach, former wide receivers coach Gerad Parker, is popular with his former Boilermakers teammates.

“He was there when I was there,” Etling said of Parker. “He’s a great guy.”

A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, Etling played at Purdue in 2013-14 before transferring to LSU last year.

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