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LSU head coach Ed Orgeron rallys his defensive troops including LSU linebacker Arden Key (49), LSU defensive end Rashard Lawrence (90), LSU linebacker Donnie Alexander (48) and LSU linebacker KÕLavon Chaisson (4) during the second half of LSU's football game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday Nov. 4, 2017, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.. Bama won 24-10.

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

Arden Key hasn't made any official announcement as to whether he'll return to LSU next season or enter the NFL draft.

But with Key not around the program after being ruled out for Monday's Citrus Bowl, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the linebacker’s days in Baton Rouge are numbered.

“I can take an educated guess,” coach Ed Orgeron joked at Wednesday’s news conference when asked if he’s spoken to Key about his future.

Key is one of three LSU linebackers who won’t make the trip to Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, including fellow starters Donnie Alexander and Corey Thompson. All three players were removed from the updated depth chart released Wednesday.

Of the three, Orgeron said only Alexander is still involved with team activities, attending team meetings and taking part in injury rehab.

Key is the only player who can return to the team next season, if he chooses.

Freshmen K’Lavon Chaisson and Tyler Taylor and sophomore Michael Divinity were listed as starters in replacement of the three injured players. Chaisson and Ray Thornton are expected to rotate at rush linebacker.

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“Not having our two starting outside linebackers and not having Donnie, we’re thin at that position,” Orgeron said. “Now Michael Divinity, K’Lavon Chaisson and (backup) Ray Thornton have stepped up and so have our young linebackers. They’ve had some good practices.”

Practice makes perfect

LSU is cranking up the heat this week.

Orgeron ordered the temperature inside LSU’s indoor practice facility be put at 78 degrees this week to prepare for the forecast in Orlando.

Orgeron also adjusted the practice schedule to accommodate the Monday game and fit in an extra day of work.

On top of staying in Baton Rouge a full two days longer than Notre Dame stayed in Indiana, the Tigers also squeezed in a practice before they leave Thursday.

From there, Friday will be treated the same as “Turnover Wednesday," Saturday will be “No Repeat Thursday” and Sunday will be “Focus Friday.”

But it won’t be all work in Orlando.

LSU brings players to Universal Studios on one of the days after going to Disney World last season.

“The reason I stayed (in Baton Rouge) longer is to stay focused," Orgeron said. "When we get down there, obviously they're going to go to (Universal Studios) and enjoy themselves for the first night. I think last year they handled their business. I treated them like men. I gave them some leeway. I’m proud of the way they handled themselves. I expect them to do the same thing.”

Back in the backfield

Derrius Guice returned to practice Tuesday, Orgeron confirmed.

The LSU running back missed the majority of last week’s practice with a knee injury, but appears to be on schedule to play in the Citrus Bowl next week.

Guice previously tweeted he would play in the postseason game if he was healthy.

Friends in high places

One of the promises Orgeron makes to every LSU recruit is that they’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the most influential people in Louisiana.

True to his word, Gov. John Bel Edwards made a surprise visit to practice Tuesday to give a motivational speech to players and even throw a few passes.

In a throwback to his playing days at Amite High School, the former quarterback donned a No. 11 LSU practice jersey, the same number he wore as a player.

“He gave a motivational speech, went out there and threw some passes,” Orgeron said. “He completed most of them. He played quarterback in Amite. I was really surprised by his athletic ability. Looked pretty good out there. It was a good day for our players to meet the governor and get some inspiring words.”

Going, going… not gone yet

LSU has sold 6,500 of the school’s allotted 9,500 tickets to next week’s Citrus Bowl, the school confirmed.

Tickets range from $50 to $160 on LSUTix.net.

Christmas on the Bayou

It was a Merry Christmas at the Orgeron household.

Orgeron said he was happy to spend time with his family during the holiday as players went home to be with theirs.

When asked what he received for Christmas, Orgeron let it slip that maybe all that gumbo on the recruiting trail got to him a little bit.

“My wife bought me some clothes, but I don’t know if they fit. I gained a little weight,” Orgeron said.

Follow Mike Gegenheimer on Twitter, @Mike_Gegs.