LSU is trading Saturday night in Death Valley for Saturday morning in the Carrier Dome.
The No. 8 Tigers will take on Syracuse at 11 a.m. CDT Saturday, the team’s earliest kickoff since it traveled to Texas A&M in October 2012. LSU coach Les Miles said during his weekly press luncheon Monday that the early start time will play a role in the team’s preparation.
“(We’ll) probably get them up a little bit earlier and allow them to have breakfast around the time that they would have breakfast on game day,” Miles said. “Really, the schedule won’t change much. We do the things we do.”
The Tigers plan to practice outside Monday to Wednesday before going into the indoor practice facility Thursday, the coach said. The team will leave early Friday morning, and Miles stressed that he’ll make sure his players get enough sleep late in the week.
Players recognized the importance of being physically prepared for such an early game.
“We’ll be doing stuff this week to make sure that our body clocks are set to the right time and that we’re rested,” redshirt freshman right guard Will Clapp said. “I don’t know if he’s going to change practice or anything. But I know they’ll be giving us something to do this week to make sure we’re well-rested.”
Aside from being the earliest contest in the past four seasons, Saturday’s showdown will be the third-northern-most game in program history. Trips to Washington in 2009 and Wisconsin in 1971 are the farthest north LSU has taken its football team.
As a non-Southeastern Conference road game, the Tigers are permitted to travel and dress out as many players as they want, but only 80 predetermined players can participate in the game. For SEC road games, the traveling team can only take 70 players.
Gordon ‘doing good’
Miles said senior tight end Dillon Gordon is “day-to-day” after injuring his Achilles during the first quarter of LSU’s 45-21 win against Auburn on Saturday. It’s unclear whether Gordon practiced Monday, but it’s unlikely; he was seen wearing a boot on his left foot.
Gordon did not return to the game after the injury. The Tigers played three other tight ends: juniors Colin Jeter and DeSean Smith and freshman Foster Moreau.
“There was a point in time where we kept him out where he may well have been able to play,” Miles said. “I don’t know the actual severity of it, but we’re operating very cautiously.”
Miles said he expects Gordon to travel to Syracuse.
“Dillon’s doing good,” Jeter said. “I think he just had a little issue Saturday, but I think he’s fine.”
Before the season, LSU defenders said they had five linebackers capable of starting.
Just three weeks in, the Tigers will be digging into that depth for reasons other than giving guys a break. LSU will be without starting linebacker Deion Jones for the first half against Syracuse as a repercussion of his targeting penalty and ejection after a hit on Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson.
Jones made helmet-to-helmet contact with Johnson as LSU held a 24-point lead with six minutes remaining. Miles mentioned junior Duke Riley and senior Lamar Louis as candidates to replace Jones, the team’s leading tackler through two games.
Riley and Louis have played sparingly while recording eight and five tackles.
Senior safety Jalen Mills was spotted Monday without the black walking boot he wore on the sideline for Saturday’s game, but he still had a lightweight plastic brace on his injured left ankle.
Saturday was the first time Mills was seen without crutches since the injury. It’s still not known when Mills, who was injured in preseason practice Aug. 19, will be ready to play in a game. Miles said last week that Mills was coming along quickly, but he wouldn’t speculate on his return.
The Advocate reported several weeks ago that Mills’ recovery would take “at least six weeks.”
As if LSU’s defense needed any favors, the Tigers — 24-point favorites against the Orange — will more than likely face a third-string quarterback Saturday.
Syracuse freshman Eric Dungey is doubtful to play against LSU, Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said Monday during an interview with Cuse.com. Dungey filled in after senior starter Terrel Hunt tore his right Achilles tendon in the season opener. Dungey suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit in the Orange’s overtime win against Central Michigan last Saturday.
Sophomores Austin Wilson and Zach Mahoney, a former junior-college walk-on, split time at quarterback following Dungey’s exit.
“Both of those kids are going to be competing to see who’s going to play the most come Saturday,” Shafer said. “If we use them both, we use them both.”
The awards keep flooding in.
For the second straight week, sophomore running back Leonard Fournette earned at least a share of SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors. (He shared it this week with Georgia quarterback Grayson Lambert.) He was also named Walter Camp Player of the Week for his 228-yard, three-touchdown performance against Auburn.
Senior right tackle Vadal Alexander picked up an SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week honor after junior center Ethan Pocic won the award last week.
Miles on Edwards
Former LSU tight end Tyler Edwards was found dead in Monroe on Saturday night from a gunshot wound police believe to be self-inflicted.
Edwards played for Miles from 2008-12, though he was ruled ineligible for his senior season. He saw action in 39 games and recorded one reception.
“I don’t know exactly what to say,” a visibly upset Miles said. “You have a teammate, a fine young man and person who busted his tail for us and did everything we asked him to do. I don’t know the specifics. The only thing I know is that he is no more.”
The Tigers will host their first night game of the season Oct. 3 against Eastern Michigan, slated for a 6 p.m. kickoff on ESPNU. … LSU sold all 5,000 of its allotted tickets to the Syracuse game, the school announced Monday.
Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report.