By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Linebackers Arden Key and Donnie Alexander are “questionable” to play against Tennessee, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said at his post-practice presser Thursday.
Neither Key (knee) nor Alexander (neck/shoulder) participated in any of the three media viewing portions of practice this week. Both sustained the injuries against Arkansas last week.
True freshman K’Lavon Chaisson and Tyler Taylor would be in line to start in place of Key and Alexander, respectively.
“They’ve played before,” Orgeron said. “We’ve started them before and those guys have done a good job. Hey, they’re young guys. They’re going to play hard and have more experience since the first game. They’ve gotten better, but obviously there’s some things we’re going to have to fix during the game.
“They’re still going to make mistakes. You’ve got to be patient with them.”
Chaisson started the first two games of the season in Key’s place while the All-American worked his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. Taylor has started three games this season in Alexander’s place.
Redshirt freshman Ray Thornton is also expected to see additional playing time at outside linebacker in the event Key doesn’t play. Orgeron praised Thornton for recent strong showings on special teams.
“Ray is going to play a lot,” Orgeron said. “He had a good game on special teams last week … He’s going to share time with K’Lavon.”
– Connor Culp re-won LSU’s place kicking job after a “perfect” week in practice, Orgeron said. He was pulled last week after missing a field goal and two extra points. Jack Gonsoulin, who replaced him, will be “ready to go” if needed, Orgeron said.
– Left tackle K.J. Malone remains “questionable,” according to Orgeron. He hasn’t practiced since suffering a knee injury against Florida.
– Tuesday was LSU’s second-best practice of the season in terms of energy expended, according to Orgeron. Strength coach Tommy Moffitt measures and tracks all players via heart monitors during practice. “I was very pleased with that,” Orgeron said. “Guys are working hard, believing what we’re doing. We still have some things to correct, but that’s why we practice.”