LSU’s leading receiver wasn’t on the practice field Tuesday afternoon, but LSU coach Ed Orgeron expects he’ll be able to play in the regular-season finale against Texas A&M.
Justin Jefferson is officially considered “questionable” to play against the Aggies on Saturday night, Orgeron said, but the coach felt his top pass catcher was trending toward being good to go.
“He’s questionable, but I believe he’s going to play,” Orgeron said on the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday morning. “I think he’s going to be ok.”
Jefferson has 45 catches for 725 yards and three touchdowns, leading LSU in all three categories. Nobody else on the roster has more than 19 grabs. Missing him would be a tough blow for LSU against a Texas A&M defense that leads the SEC in stopping the run.
The coach was less optimistic about the chances of freshman cornerback Kelvin Joseph, who will be a “game-time decision.” Orgeron said Monday that Joseph (hamstring) was expected to return after missing the Rice game, but he hasn’t practiced yet this week.
“He’s coming along slower than expected,” Orgeron said. “It may be a game-time decision on him.”
Kary Vincent and Terrence Alexander have seen increased playing time at cornerback with Kristian Fulton out and Joseph ailing.
Tight end Jamal Pettigrew returned to practice this week after tearing his ACL over the summer. The sophomore was a full participant in Tuesday’s padded workout some three months after undergoing knee surgery in August.
Orgeron said Wednesday that it’s “a little early” to tell if Pettigrew could play in a potential bowl game down the road, but he didn’t rule it out either.
“He’s running around and going through drills, we’re going to test him out,” Orgeron said. “I think it’s a little early to tell if he can go to a bowl game or not, but obviously we’d love to have him.”
Throughout this season, Orgeron has often lamented the fact that LSU doesn’t have a second tight end to deploy alongside Foster Moreau. Both Pettigrew and Thaddeus Moss, who underwent foot surgery on Tuesday, have been out all season due to injury.
“We don’t have a second tight end package because we miss him and Moss,” Orgeron said. “We don’t have a 12 personnel package, and that’s one of (offensive coordinator) Steve (Ensminger’s) best. It would be a big boost for us.”
CROOTIN SCHEDULE SET
Texas A&M will be LSU’s final game of the regular season, but Orgeron and his staff won’t be taking any time off to relax once its finished. The mad dash to the Early Signing Period begins in earnest Sunday, and every LSU coach is set to hit the trail running.
Orgeron said LSU took time last week to formulate a plan for who goes where during these pivotal final weeks before players can sign National Letters of Intent from Dec. 19-21.
“We spent some time last week making our recruiting schedule, so we’re going to be on the road hitting it early in the morning til late at night,” Orgeron said. “It’s something I look forward to. I’m going to be in two homes on Sunday getting our top players in the state of Louisiana. Guys are going to be all over the country. We’re not only recruiting the 2019 class, we’re starting to recruit the 2020 class.”