LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture, fullback J.D. Moore and cornerback Tre’Davious White did not practice with the team Tuesday, but coach Les Miles is hoping all three can begin participating in drills starting Monday.
“It appears that we’ll have a full slate come Monday,” Miles said.
The injuries to the trio loom as a top story line during LSU’s off week this week. The No. 4 Tigers (7-0, 4-0 Southeastern) meet No. 7 Alabama (7-1, 4-1) on Nov. 7 in an SEC West, top-10 showdown.
“We need everybody,” defensive tackle Davon Godchaux said Saturday in referring to the Bama game.
It’s still unclear if any of the three will be ready for the game against the Tide in Tuscaloosa – a match set for a 7 p.m. kickoff on CBS. The trio worked out Tuesday, Miles said, but did not practice with the team. They are all in similar positions, status wide, the coach indicated.
All three players missed last week’s win over Western Kentucky, and Moore has missed the last two games after suffering a knee injury against South Carolina. LaCouture had minor surgery last week on an injured foot, and White injured his left knee during practice last Monday.
The good news for LSU fans: defensive back Jalen Mills practiced Tuesday, Miles said. Mills did not play in the second half of the game against Western Kentucky because of a “soft tissue issue,” Miles said. He made his first start of the year against the Hilltoppers after recovering from a fractured ankle sustained in preseason camp.
Mills is the senior leader of a secondary that’s been responsible for a host of coverage busts over the last month.
Even more so, the Tigers need Moore. Running back Leonard Fournette calls Moore his “flashlight.” He’s a vital part of an LSU offense that runs the ball more than 71.5 percent of the time.
“J.D. Moore is pushing to play in this game,” Miles said.
Freshman Bry’Kiethon Mouton struggled at times Saturday. In fact, LSU burned the redshirt off highly touted rookie fullback David Ducre and, even, put backup middle linebacker Ronnie Feist at fullback on the last series of the game for three snaps. The Tigers ran without a fullback on more than half of their plays in the second half against the Hilltoppers.
Feist will continue to work at fullback, Miles said. Ducre’s only snap came on LSU’s last offensive snap of the game - running back Derrius Guice’s 47-yard touchdown.
Said the coach about lifting the redshirt on Ducre: “We want to see if he can play. Big, physical kid.”
White’s absence caused LSU’s secondary to shuffle, shift and rotate players more than normal. In fact, safety Corey Thompson played about 40 snaps, a season high, and cornerback Ed Paris saw the most work of his career, too.
Greg Gilmore, a redshirt sophomore, replaced LaCouture as the starting tackle. Frank Herron rotated in the game, and Quentin Thomas saw a small amount of playing time, too.
Heroes: Harris and Dupre
Brandon Harris and Malachi Dupre have been teaming up for more than just explosive touchdowns.
Miles said the sophomore duo helped stranded motorists stuck in heavy rainfall and flooding on Burbank Drive in front of Walk-On’s on Sunday night.
“They basically went into a car that had insulin in it for (a woman’s) diabetic son, went underwater and got it,” Miles said. “That was Brandon Harris and Malachi Dupre, just doing good things on their own without direction.”
The car was submerged in five to six feet of waters, Miles said. Earlier this year, receiver Travin Dural helped a stranded motorist by pulling her from a car after the vehicle veered into a ditch.
“There’s a lot of real quality people on this team,” Miles said.
Jackson might stay PR
Donte Jackson might take over as LSU’s starting punt returner, Miles suggested Tuesday.
Jackson replaced the injured White against Western Kentucky and returned a punt more than 30 yards. The return was called back for a block-in-the-back, but it showed the flash that the speedy Jackson brings, Miles said.
“Donte is one of the fastest guys on our team, if not the fastest. Very elusive, great ball skills. We look forward to seeing him play,” Miles said.
“We like him there,” the coach said when asked about him returning punts. “Not that we don’t like T White, it’s just we don’t know that we’ll actually turn that duty back over to him if we’ve got a guy that has already set up and done it.”
LSU practiced Tuesday and will practice Wednesday and Thursday before taking off Friday-Sunday. Miles said LSU will have little to no contact in Thursday’s practice.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.