Quentin Thomas could return this season, but LSU is preparing for life without him.
Already, coach Les Miles named a replacement at Thomas’ starting defensive tackle spot: redshirt freshman Frank Herron.
Still, Miles said the Tigers received “some really positive news recently” about Thomas. The redshirt junior tore his biceps during Wednesday’s practice last week and is expected to miss the season, a source told The Advocate.
During LSU’s annual media day Sunday, Miles said Thomas could return by the first game but added, “I don’t know. I’m not counting him out.”
The team, for now, has already named the next man up. Miles, during his main address to about 200 reporters Sunday, said Christian LaCouture and Thomas are his starting defensive tackles.
Herron, a Memphis, Tennessee, native who has never taken a college snap, has been lauded by Miles and teammates during the first week of camp as an intense and high-motor player. Miles said Herron has been practicing in Thomas’ spot.
“Right now I don’t know that I’m a starter,” Herron said. “Working with the ones, twos. We’ve got young guys working hard.”
Thomas’ absence, at least for now, makes the defensive tackle spot low on experience. Just LaCouture has seen significant playing time. That’s not a worry to defensive coordinator John Chavis or line coach Brick Haley.
Chavis said the Tigers could rotate as many as six players at the defensive tackle spots, despite the inexperience. The list includes LaCouture and redshirt freshmen Herron, Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore.
“I think I’ve had that question every (interview),” Haley said when asked about the lack of experience. “You guys are a lot more worried about it than I am.”
Adams to play early
Jamal Adams is a talker — and that’s a good thing, defensive backs coach Corey Raymond said.
Adams is expected to see substantial playing time as a true freshman. He is playing as LSU’s dime (or sixth) defensive back, Raymond said. He’s also been in on LSU’s mustang package.
All because he talks a lot? That’s part of it.
“Very good communicator,” Raymond said. “He talks the game out there.”
That’s big at the safety position. Adams also learns the game quick and is fast. Raymond said he has 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
Said Adams, a five-star recruit from Texas: “I’m a freshman. I can’t be too greedy. I have to sit back and work hard and stay in my playbook.”
Raymond has plenty of freshmen in his secondary. Ed Paris is No. 2 at cornerback, and John Battle is being cross-trained at cornerback and safety.
No decision on RG
Hoko Fanaika and Evan Washington continue to battle for the starting job at right guard, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said.
But the competition could be coming to a close soon — at least that’s what Grimes wants.
“We’re still in position where no one has laid claim to that spot. I would still say that we’re in position where we’re willing to allow that to go on until someone claims it,” he said. “You’d like someone to sooner rather than later. However, competition brings out the best in all and, as long as someone feels like they’re really competing to start, then everybody gets better and you’re building quality depth.”
The pair of linemen are fighting for the only vacant spot on the line. Trai Turner, a redshirt sophomore, left early for the NFL draft.