LSU coach Ed Orgeron has preached the importance of winning the line of scrimmage against Alabama, and a few key linemen were wearing gold noncontact jerseys in the final open practice before LSU's No. 2-vs.-No. 3 showdown in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
Left tackle Saahdiq Charles and nose tackle Siaki "Apu" Ika both practiced with restriction on Wednesday afternoon.
Charles is LSU's regular starter at left tackle, and the 6-foot-4, 295-pound junior has played in four games this season.
In three of the four games Charles hasn't played — absences Orgeron has called "coach's decisions" — redshirt freshman Dare Rosenthal has been the starter at left tackle. Rosenthal has not appeared in practice since his start against Mississippi State.
True freshman offensive guard Kardell Thomas has not been seen in two straight viewings of LSU's open practice. Once expected to miss the season, Thomas returned from preseason ankle surgery on Oct. 21 and had since been practicing with the team. The Southern Lab graduate has yet to play in any games.
Ika has provided depth at nose tackle behind starter Tyler Shelvin, and a rotational depth has been key for the LSU defense to stay fresh when its high-paced offense wants to play fast.
The 6-foot-4, 354-pound Ika has recorded seven tackles and one tackle for loss.
Safety Grant Delpit was not seen for the fifth straight media viewing of practice. Orgeron said Monday that he expects the unanimous All-American to play against Alabama.
Delpit, who has 43 tackle and one interception this season, appeared to injure his ankle against Auburn and Orgeron said last week that the junior had suffered a "sprain."
Orgeron said Monday that Delpit will practice "a little bit" this week and believes he "will be totally healthy for the game Saturday."
Wide receiver Racey McMath returned to practice after missing the open portion of Tuesday's practice. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound junior has 10 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Players missing from the open portion of LSU football practice:
- Grant Delpit, S, junior
- Donte Starks, LB, true freshman
- Todd Harris, S, junior
- Dare Rosenthal, OT, redshirt freshman
- Kardell Thomas, OG, true freshman
- Michael Smith, OL, junior
- Thomas Perry, OL, true freshman