LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron said Leonard Fournette is still questionable for Saturday’s home game against Southern Miss at 6:30 p.m., but he suggested Fournette would be working to get back on the field in the near future.
“I don’t know if he’s going to play this week,” Orgeron said at his weekly press luncheon. “I talked to (head athletic trainer) Jack (Marucci). He’s going to do some things this week. He’s getting better. I would list him as questionable right now.”
Orgeron did not expect Fournette to play in LSU’s road game against Florida last Saturday, which was indefinitely postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. It would have been the third game Fournette has missed this season, having not played in home wins against Jacksonville State on Sept. 10 and Missouri on Oct. 1.
Fournette sprained his left ankle during a preseason practice and has now reinjured it twice – in the season-opening loss to Wisconsin on Sept. 3 and a road loss to Auburn on Sept. 24.
Fournette has not practiced for two weeks.
Sophomore Derrius Guice started in Fournette’s place for the second time against Missouri, rushing for 163 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns. Junior Darrel Williams added 131 yards on 21 carries with three scores of his own.
As a team, LSU rushed for 418 yards against Mizzou.
Here are a few other nuggets from Orgeron’s meeting with the media:
Offensive line injuries: Though he did not specifically mention him by name in his answer, Orgeron was asked about Will Clapp’s right shoulder injury. Prior to the postponement of the LSU-Florida game, Orgeron said Clapp’s injury could keep him out for a “couple of weeks.” Clapp is one of at least two starting offensive linemen who were not expected to play against the Gators, as right tackle Toby Weathersby has been held out of LSU’s two previous games with a sprained ankle. Tight end Foster Moreau was also expected to miss the Florida game. “We need to be able to adjust,” Orgeron said. “Injuries are a part of football season, especially this time of the season, especially this stretch that we’re fixing to go into. So we have to have some guys that are ready to play. I think (offensive line coach Jeff) Grimes has done a tremendous job of managing his position. He has the plan. He goes over that plan with me. We have some guys that can play left tackle, center or right guard. … We have some young guys that are chomping at the bit to play, but you never can tell how well they’re going to play until they get to live action.”
Corey Thompson: Though senior outside linebacker Corey Thompson is no longer using crutches and is now working out, Orgeron would not commit to when Thompson would make his season debut. Thompson fractured his ankle on the first day of preseason practices, but his injury was never considered to be a season-ender. Orgeron said he spoke to Thompson and his father about Thompson’s options going forward, including a possible medical redshirt, but the coach didn’t rule out a possible return this season. “He will be able to play this year,” Orgeron said. “He’s not ready yet. We’re going to do more things with him right now. I spoke to him and his father last week on the phone. There’s always options. People are thinking how much are you going to play, should you use it as a redshirt year. I told his dad, ‘Let’s take it day-by-day. Let’s see if Corey wants to play. Let’s see how much we’re going to use him, how much we’re going to play him.'”
Off-week advantages: Along with giving players time to rest in the middle of the season, the unscheduled off week allowed Orgeron and his staff to make recruiting trips and get an early look at Southern Miss. Orgeron, especially, was thrilled to be able to attend 10 high schools as LSU’s head coach, often being asked to take a picture. Orgeron can’t speak to any prospects on these recruiting visit, calling it just “business as usual.” “It was the LSU head coach there, and I realize that,” Orgeron said. “People were excited to see the LSU head coach. It was a great day.”