Ed Orgeron reasserted Thursday that he does not expect record-setting edge rusher Arden Key to play in LSU's season opener against BYU on Sept. 2.
"Nah, I don’t think so," he said when asked. "I’m not sure, but I’m not expecting it. But nothing that dude does surprises me. He’s going to go to his doctor next week and we should know pretty soon when he’s going to play."
Key, recovering from May shoulder surgery, was an All-American as a sophomore last season and set the school record with 12 sacks. The uncertainty surrounding his playing status is nothing new. Orgeron has spent much of the summer saying that Key could miss early-season games.
Key, who some project to be a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL draft, had a drama-filled offseason. He missed spring practice after taking a leave of absence for personal reasons, and he underwent left shoulder surgery in May.
He's practiced with LSU in a limited role since camp started July 31. He's not been cleared for contact, but he wore pads during Thursday's practice, Orgeron said.
"He’s ahead of schedule. He’s doing some things," Orgeron said after Thursday's practice. "Today he’s taking on blocks, doing some things. I just don’t know when he’s going to be ready, what the doctors are going to say.
"He’s not hitting," Orgeron said. "He’s going through some walk-through stuff. Today, he had his pads on. I’ve got to take him off drills, stepping through stuff, using his hands, reading his keys, does pass rush moves. But he’s not taking any contact."
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A pair of players with no game experience are likely to replace the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Key at the Buck outside linebacker/defensive end spot: redshirt freshman Ray Thornton and true freshman K'Lavon Chaisson.
Andre Anthony, a redshirt freshman, has missed at least a week of camp with an injury, Orgeron said, and has "fell behind" in the competition at that position, an important, pass-rushing spot in Aranda's 3-4 scheme.
"Either going to be Ray or K’Lavon," Orgeron said Thursday. "Those guys are fighting, fighting hard."
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Wait for Shelvin continues
LSU continues to await the NCAA regarding Tyler Shelvin’s status.
Shelvin, the highly decorated nose tackle signee from Lafayette, is the only member of the 2017 signing class who has not joined the team yet. His coursework remains at the NCAA Clearinghouse under review, Orgeron said.
Orgeron said he’s confident he’ll arrive on campus before the season opener.
“Still in progress right now as being reviewed, taking a little longer than we thought,” he said.
Shelvin needed to complete correspondence courses over the summer to meet the NCAA's minimum academic eligibility requirements. He completed the work July 31, his high school coach, Lewis Cook, told The Advocate.
LSU's starting quarterback competition remains open, Orgeron said, and may be finally determined during Saturday's scrimmage, Orgeron said. "Danny (Etling) is going to be our starter probably, but it’s not over yet," Orgeron said. ... LSU's starting offensive line practiced together this week for the first time in more than two weeks, but the Tigers are still nursing a few injury. The following players remain out or limited: RB Lanard Fournette, WR Dee Anderson, WR Racey McMath, Anthony and Key.