The revolving door at offensive guard will keep on spinning, according to coach Les Miles, at least.
During his weekly press luncheon Monday, Miles indicated he may continue rotating redshirt freshman Will Clapp, junior Josh Boutte and true freshman Maea Teuhema at guard. Clapp and Boutte started against Mississippi State last Saturday at left and right guard, respectively, but Teuhema played on the left side for the entire second half while Clapp shifted over to Boutte’s spot.
“We like to keep guys fresh,” Miles said. “The more that those guys are fresh, especially when they’re younger, it takes some pressure off playing down after down.”
Teuhema was instrumental in opening up big holes for sophomore running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed for a career-high 159 yards against the Bulldogs. He pulled from left guard as a lead blocker on Fournette’s 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
But players said they don’t see a big difference between Teuhema and Boutte. The game replay might reveal something different. Boutte struggled at times in the first half, being pushed into the backfield and appearing slow to react at the snap.
“Both guys are huge, two of the biggest human beings I’ve ever met,” said sophomore quarterback Brandon Harris. “It’s seamless. ...Both guys are gonna play.”
LSU will kick off its second straight Southeastern Conference game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Auburn, which is tied for No. 90 nationally in total defense.
Mills on the mend
Jalen Mills can run again, even if it’s just underwater. Miles said Monday the injured safety is quickly recovering from his ankle surgery and has started running on an underwater treadmill as part of his rehab.
Doctors operated on Mills’ ankle a few days after he injured it at practice Aug. 19. A source told The Advocate the senior would miss at least six weeks following the injury. Miles referred to it as a “high ankle” injury during his weekly radio show last Wednesday.
The Tigers’ trip to South Carolina on Oct. 10 might likely be the earliest he could play. The coach said he would only “be guessing” at a timetable for Mills’ return.
A big Key
True freshman defensive end Arden Key got on the field for the third series of Saturday’s game at Mississippi State and recorded a sack on his first play -- dumping Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott for a 9-yard loss.
Starting defensive end Lewis Neal said it wasn’t a surprise to him after seeing Key, who had two quarterback hurries and broke up a pass, in preseason camp.
“I already knew he could do that. … We compete every day, we try to see who’s going to get the most sacks (in practice) or who’s going to get the first sack of the day,” said Neal, who had a sack of Prescott himself in the second half. “We’re always competing. If he gets more sacks than me, I’m mad. If I get more sacks them him, he’s mad. That’s just going to make us better.
“I push him. I tell him, ‘Let’s go … it’s time to go and show the world what you got.’ I love the way he’s playing and he’s going to do great things for us.”
ESPN Classic will air a replay of the 1996 LSU-Auburn game at noon Thursday. LSU won the game, 19-15, while the old Auburn Sports Arena burned down across the street from Jordan-Hare Stadium … The channel will air a replay of Saturday’s showdown between LSU and Auburn from 6-9 p.m. Sunday.
Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles and Ross Dellenger contributed to this report.