After LSU's offense sputtered in last week's 16-14 loss to Wisconsin, coordinator Cam Cameron will return to the coaches’ booth to call plays, head coach Les Miles said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.
“We kind of reviewed that, and I think what was an obvious advantage (against Texas Tech), we did not get as much information from the box as we’d like (against Wisconsin),” Miles said. “Cam has a good view of offense and defense and can really tell what’s going very quickly from there, as opposed to having it relayed, especially in between calls.”
Cameron spent the first three years of his LSU tenure calling plays from the booth but moved to the field for LSU’s Texas Bowl victory against Texas Tech, when the Tigers racked up a school record for yardage in a bowl.
But the Tigers didn’t repeat that success against the Badgers. Inaccuracy, dropped passes and consistent pressure affected quarterback Brandon Harris, who completed 12 of 21 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Running back Leonard Fournette struggled in the first half, though he did finish with 138 yards rushing and had three receptions for 38 yards.
Miles said after the game that there were communication issues at times between coaches. He said Tuesday that the headsets went out twice in the second half, costing LSU timeouts.
“We feel like there’s two young quarterbacks that can really help Brandon (on the sideline), as well as (receivers coach) Dameyune Craig who played (quarterback),” Miles said. “We feel like we would reverse that step there and put him back in the box.”
Fournette’s ankle 'not terribly swollen'
Miles said Fournette did not practice Monday, giving him time to rest and apply ice on an ankle injury he re-aggravated in the closing minutes of Saturday's loss. But the coach said he expects Fournette to play against Jacksonville State at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
“He’s fine," Miles said. "He’s not terribly swollen. He got a contusion, a nice bruise. I would expect him to play.”
Fournette initially sprained his ankle in an Aug. 16 scrimmage, missing a week of preseason practice while he wore a walking boot. Fournette returned to practice Aug. 25. He had 23 carries against the Badgers with a long of 30 yards.
On his final carry — a 15-yard burst from the Wisconsin 45-yard line — Fournette attempted to hurdle Wisconsin safety Seth Currens but was hit directly on his ankle. He flipped into the air and limped off the field, where trainers tended to him. The game effectively ended on Harris’ interception on the next play.
After the game, though, Miles said his star tailback “absolutely” could have returned to the game.
Tigers tumble in polls
LSU slipped 16 spots in both major college football polls, plummeting more than any team after its first season-opening loss in 13 years.
The Tigers (0-1) are No. 22 in the coaches rankings and No. 21 in the AP top 25. They opened last month at No. 6 in the coaches and No. 5 in the AP poll, their highest preseason ranking since 2012.
The Tigers are one of seven Southeastern Conference teams in the coaches poll and one of six in the AP. The Badgers entered both polls. They are No. 10 in the AP poll and No. 16 in the coaches rankings.
Brandon Harris’ first pass flew high of receiver Malachi Dupre, careening off the receiver’s outstretched fingertips.
Teuhema to replace suspended Boutte
Maea Teuhema is back in a starting role.
The sophomore will replace the suspended Josh Boutte at right guard, according to a depth chart LSU released Monday. Teuhema, starter at left guard in 11 games last year, rotated at right tackle in the Tigers' season-opening loss to Wisconsin.
Miles suspended Boutte for the Jacksonville State game Saturday after his ejection on an ugly post-whistle hit on LSU's last offensive play. Teuhema dropped from the starting lineup after he sprained his ankle over the summer, missing at least the first week of preseason camp.
Miles addressed Boutte’s personal foul penalty and ejection, which immediately followed Harris’ game-sealing interception. Miles reiterated that Boutte called Badgers defensive back D’Cota Dixon, the victim of the hit, to apologize for his actions.
However, Miles believed the hit was not intentional because Boutte thought the play was still live, calling it “an instinctive reaction.”
Miles said he thought the hit appeared more vicious because of how much bigger Boutte is than Dixon.
"I talked to the head of officials, and he said, ‘The reason I called it egregious was because he didn’t try tackling him,’ ” Miles said. "But when you’re 6-foot-6 and you weigh 330 (pounds), you have a difficult time bending your body down to get anything on a guy that’s flying by there. So whatever you can get your body to do, you do. That’s why offensive line bodies don’t play defense.”