LSU coach Ed Orgeron officially confirmed Tuesday that suspended linebacker Michael Divinity has been reinstated and will play in the Jan. 13 College Football Playoff national championship game against Clemson.
“Michael Divinity will be back with the team, a final decision was made this morning,” Oregron said on a national media teleconference. “Mike has been a tremendous pass rusher for us. I know we’re definitely going to use him. He’ll be back in a role and we’ll definitely use him in the best situations we can.”
Divinity, a 6-5, 241-pound senior, had 23 tackles and was LSU’s sack leader with three when he left the team for personal reasons on Nov. 4 five days before the Alabama game. Orgeron said at the time Divinity would not be eligible until the national championship game if the Tigers made it to the finals.
Well, No. 1 14-0 LSU has done that, so Orgeron has a fresh body eager to join a defense that has played its best games of the season in the last four contests.
Divinity started the season at inside linebacker, then moved to an outside spot. Which he play against Clemson?
“It all depends where we need him,” Orgeron said. “Our inside guys are playing well. We could use him outside in some situations. That could allow JaCoby Stevens to go back to a safety position or a corner position, what we’re talking about if we have to play some base.
“And then obviously in our pass rush scheme, Mike is one of our best pass rushers. So I think he immediately goes back to starting on our dime package.”
Here’s Orgeron on other subjects:
On first-year passing game coordinator Joe Brady being mentioned in reports as a possible NFL offensive coordinator candidate
“NFL, college. I think Joe is an outstanding coach, so you have to be prepared for both. We just had a plan (LSU to offer Brady a new contact and raise), but all the coaches have meetings after the season what would be appropriate and what we wanted to do, so just a preliminary plan we worked on, and that’s it.”
On updating the health of injured starting right guard Damien Lewis and how LSU is adjusting
“(Trainer) Jack (Marucci) will have a more definitive answer for us on whether he thinks he’ll be ready for the football game. We’ll put Adrian (Magee) at that right guard since he did so well (after Lewis got hurt against Oklahoma), we’ll do that first, and having Ed (Ingram) at left guard. I think that would be a natural deal.
“Also, Dare Rosenthal will be eligible to play in this game. That gives us more depth at tackle. So if Damien comes back, we’re as healthy as we’ve been on this football team all year.”
On the health of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the play of Chris Curry vs. Oklahoma
“We’re going to look at how much he (Edwards-Helaire) can do. Our first practice is going to be on Thursday, and we have Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday practice. We’ll go through a week of preparation. Then the guys have two weeks break, and then we’ll start the preparation on Wednesday.
“So, I think by next Wednesday he should be full speed. We’ll take it slow with him, see what he can do. He’s getting treatment right now. He’s a little sore. We’ll see how much he can do this week.
“Not having Clyde in there gives those other guys valuable reps. I’ve got to say something to Chris Curry. In this world of transfer portals and all that, taking the easy way out, it says a lot about his character, his grit, his toughness. He told me, he said, `Coach, I’m going to be one of your best backs. Just watch.’
“During the bowl practices, when Clyde’s not out, then we’ve got to find out who’s the best back to put in there. Obviously, those two young guys are ahead of him, but he has some great practices, and the plays that we’re running, the style of plays that we run, we felt that Chris was the best one to run it. Boy, I’ll tell you what, he took his opportunity. We said next man up, we put 11 men on the field, and we fight like Tigers, and he did it. I’m so proud of him.”
On President Trump calling him
“He called me yesterday morning. They told me the President’s office called, and I thought it was the President of the university. He said, no, the White House. I said, okay, here we go.
“I was very honored to get a call from President Trump. He was very pleasant to talk to, very complimentary of our football team, our coaching staff, complimentary of the way the state of Louisiana has rallied around us, and was complimentary to the way we played all year and wished us good luck in the game.”
On his New Year’s resolution “Probably to try to eat less, and it won’t happen.”