LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron reiterated that Leonard Fournette is still dealing with soreness from a nagging left ankle injury. But Orgeron believes Fournette will be “fine” when the No. 16 Tigers (6-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) meet No. 21 Florida at noon Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
"Leonard is tough," Orgeron said at his news conference Monday. "I think the ankle is a little sore. If he needs a day off Tuesday, he gets a day off. … I do believe he’s going to be fine.”
In LSU’s 38-10 victory against Arkansas last Saturday, Razorbacks defensive lineman Bijhon Johnson dropped Fournette for a 5-yard loss and then tumbled onto his left leg in the second quarter. Fournette limped off the field, got retaped during halftime and returned to the game.
However, the junior tailback left the game again late in the third quarter and did not return. Fournette finished the game with 17 carries for 98 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two catches for 44 yards.
Fournette initially injured his ankle during a preseason practice and has re-aggravated it a handful of times. He’s missed three games this season.
Prior to the Tigers’ 10-0 loss to Alabama, Fournette told the CBS broadcasting crew that he was not fully healthy and did not expect to be fully healthy until after the season.
Here are few other nuggets from Orgeron's meeting with the media:
Re-scouting Florida: Before the game was postponed due to possible effects of Hurricane Matthew, LSU put in a full week of preparation when the Tigers were originally scheduled to play the Gators on Oct. 8. Orgeron acknowledged the previous preparation serves as an advantage when re-scouting Florida, but he said the Gators do some things differently than a month ago. "A lot of the plays are the same," Orgeron said. "There are a lot of things that we felt we had prepared very well for. There's some things that they have changed, so we're going to have to change. So I think it gives you an advantage that you know that opponent very well, but you have to start back from scratch."
New punt returner?: Oregon said he would not being making a change at punt returner despite Tre'Davious White continuing to struggle to field punts, including muffing a punt in the third quarter against Arkansas. However, Orgeron said his staff "would look at some things." "We believe in (White)," Orgeron said. "He made a mistake. He's still going to be our returner. But we're going to be ready to put somebody else in if he doesn't perform. But I do believe he's going to bounce back. He's a competitor."
No sympathy: Orgeron flatly said, "No," when asked if he had any sympathy for Florida coach Jim McElwain having to take his team on the road for a game that was originally scheduled in Gainesville. Florida, begrudgingly, agreed to play in Baton Rouge after LSU officials refused to play in Gainesville on Nov. 19. The Gators would clinch the SEC East title with a victory against the Tigers. Orgeron felt the rescheduling of the game was handle properly by LSU officials. "I think (athletic director) Joe (Alleva) did a tremendous job," Orgeron said. "I think our administration handled it just the way it should be handled."
Ross Dellenger contributed to this report.