At least one player on LSU’s injury list is likely to return against Texas A&M.
LSU coach Les Miles said Monday that “there’s a really good chance” junior left tackle Jerald Hawkins will be healthy when the Tigers take on the Aggies at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium. He didn’t offer an update on junior receiver Travin Dural; CBS reported he suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s 38-17 loss to Ole Miss.
“I think we’re going to have to see on that one,” Miles said of Dural’s injury.
Hawkins did not play against the Rebels, forcing true freshman Toby Weathersby to step in at right tackle in place of senior Vadal Alexander, who shifted to left tackle.
Weathersby struggled with blocking and committed two false starts while making his first career start, and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes spent a few minutes talking to the freshman as LSU (7-3, 4-2 Southeastern) headed into the locker room facing a 24-7 deficit.
Miles said Weathersby played “pretty well” but also noted that he made a handful of freshman mistakes.
“He’s part of those two motion penalties, movement penalties,” Miles said. “But he’s going to be a good player.”
Hawkins’ absence forced the Tigers to play three first-year offensive lineman: Weathersby, redshirt freshman right guard Will Clapp and true freshman left guard Maea Teuhema.
Hawkins’ health will be paramount against Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3) and sophomore defensive end Myles Garrett, who aligns over left tackle. After breaking the SEC freshman sack record in 2014, Garrett leads the conference and is tied for fifth in the nation with 10.5 sacks this season.
Sophomore receiver John Diarse filled in while Dural was on the sideline for most of the Ole Miss game, but LSU spread the ball out without its second-leading receiver.
True freshman Tyron Johnson caught five passes for 83 yards, both career highs, after making just four receptions all season coming into the game. Sophomore Trey Quinn doubled his catch total with two grabs, and sophomore running back Leonard Fournette and junior tight end Colin Jeter each made four receptions.
The Tigers offense is already without senior tight end Dillon Gordon and sophomore fullback JD Moore, who both suffered season-ending injuries earlier this year.
Jones is a Butkus finalist
Most of Deion Jones’ contributions came on special teams for the first three years of his college career.
But as a senior this season, Jones has developed into one of the most well-respected linebackers in the nation. The former Jesuit High player is one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation’s top linebacker.
Jones leads LSU with 81 tackles and 10 tackles for loss, and he’s eighth in the SEC at 8.1 tackles per game. The 6-foot-1, 227-pound linebacker also has 3.5 sacks and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 3.
Jones joined Georgia’s Leonard Floyd, Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan, Alabama’s Reggie Ragland and Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith as finalists for the Butkus Award, which will be presented to the winner Dec. 10.
Halftime show is on
LSU just might get a special halftime show this season after all.
After its first two planned performances were canceled, the school announced rock band 3 Doors Down will play alongside The Golden Band from Tigerland during halftime of the Texas A&M game Saturday.
LSU announced before the season that rock band OneRepublic would perform at halftime of the LSU-Florida game Oct. 17 and that hip hop artist Aloe Blacc would take the stage when the Tigers hosted Arkansas on Nov. 14. The OneRepublic show was canceled after LSU alleged the show’s promoter didn’t “abide by the contractual terms.” Blacc’s promoter then declined an offer from Halftime Live, LSU’s new halftime show partner.