By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
LSU will likely be without its top defensive lineman for a second straight game, but the Tigers are on track to have their All-American edge rusher back in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
Defensive end Rashard Lawrence (ankle) is “very questionable” and likely won’t play in LSU’s Southeastern Conference opener at Mississippi State on Saturday night, LSU coach Ed Orgeron announced Wednesday.
“I don’t think he’s going to play,” Orgeron said on the SEC Coaches Teleconference. “He can’t practice full speed right now. It’s Wednesday already; I don’t think he’s going to play.”
Lawrence practiced without a gold non-contact jersey during media viewing portions of practice on Monday and Tuesday, but it seems LSU will have to go it without him in Starkville.
Redshirt freshman Glen Logan started in Lawrence’s place against UT-Chattanooga with true freshmen Neil Farrell Jr., and Justin Thomas working in behind him.
The news was significantly more positive for outside linebacker Arden Key, who Orgeron said will start against the Bulldogs after being cleared to play earlier this week.
Key will start, the coach said, but true freshman K’Lavon Chaisson, who started two games and recorded two sacks during his absence, will rotate in as Key continues to work his way back toward his usual level of conditioning.
“We’re going to see what happens,” Orgeron said. “To be honest with you, he looked a little rusty yesterday. Obviously he got all the reps with the first team. His football conditioning is not where we want it to be right now, but I think he’s going to get there.”
He continued: “We’re going to have to rotate him in the game. He cannot play a whole game right now, but we feel good with K’Lavon Chaisson backing him up. I think we’ll be very strong there.”