Running back Leonard Fournette is likely a game-time decision for LSU's home opener against Jacksonville State on Saturday, coach Les Miles said.
"I think Leonard Fournette is a go or, if not a go, we won’t know until game day," Miles told a member of the football team's support staff in a video posted on the school's website Friday.
Fournette sprained his ankle during preseason camp and re-injured the left ankle late in LSU's 16-14 loss to Wisconsin at Lambeau Field. He suffered a "contusion, a nice bruise" on the lower leg from the hit, Miles said, and his status remains unclear.
It's also unclear whether Fournette has practiced this week. The coach declined to answer that question Wednesday during a post-practice news conference. His responses indicated Fournette rested for much of this week. Asked Wednesday whether Fournette would play Saturday, Miles said, "as far as I know."
Wednesdays With Les is a weekly post bringing you comments from LSU coach Les Miles during h…
Fournette ran for 138 yards last week in the Tigers' first season-opening loss since 2002, breaking out in the second half to help LSU to a 14-13 lead in the third quarter. He caught a 31-yard pass to set up the Tigers' only offensive touchdown.
Fournette's left ankle could be a concern moving forward. He missed a week of preseason camp with the injury, wearing a walking boot for much of that time. Miles described the sprain then as "slight." The coach claimed Fournette was 100 percent healthy for the game against the Badgers. Fournette did not speak to reporters after the game or this week.
Derrius Guice, an electric sophomore from Baton Rouge's Catholic High, is Fournette's backup, followed by junior Darrel Williams and sophomore Nick Brossette.
Fournette is chasing a handful of LSU career rushing records, and he's still one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. The Tigers begin a string of four straight Southeastern Conference games next week with a home matchup against Mississippi State. LSU then travels to Auburn, hosts Missouri and visits Florida.
Peterson: Miles 'always seems to prevail'
Count former LSU All-America cornerback/kick returner Patrick Peterson as coming out in support of his embattled former coach.
“It’s always tough to be head coach at a supreme institution like LSU,” said Peterson, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Arizona Cardinals, said in a phone interview Thursday. “They always expect excellence. Coach Miles has done that in the past, won a national championship and conference championships. That’s what (fans) are used to seeing.
“When you don’t see that, people think it’s time for a change. But I think Coach Miles is the best man for the job. He continues to bring in great talent year in and year out.”
That said, Peterson added he thinks the Tigers, coming off a season-opening upset loss to Wisconsin, can play smarter.
“It’s like the Cardinals,” he said. “We can all be smarter than the way we’re playing.”
Peterson called the Wisconsin loss a “small mishap.”
“Coach Miles,” he said, “always seems to prevail.”
Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.