By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Add LSU’s other preseason All-American to the list of players nursing injuries, too.
Running back Derrius Guice is dealing with a “minor” undisclosed injury suffered during Saturday’s preseason game, LSU coach Ed Orgeron announced Tuesday, while edge rusher Arden Key has still yet to be cleared for contact.
Both players have been absent from the media viewing portions of practice on Monday and Tuesday, the first two practices made open to reporters since camp began.
Earlier in the day, both made the preseason AP’s all-America team.
Guice is only expected to be out a “couples of days” more, Orgeron said, while Key’s status continues to look more and more in jeopardy for the season opener against BYU on Sept. 2.
Key visited his personal doctor this week and still remains not cleared for contact, Orgeron said, making him more doubtful for a game that’s less than two weeks away.
LSU has been preparing contingency plans for fielding a defense without Key since the program’s single-season sack king look a leave of absence for “personal reasons” in the spring and underwent shoulder surgery during the summer.
“We’ve never prepared like Arden was going to be in the opener,” Orgeron said. “That was never part of our mind. I wouldn’t have been surprised. I don’t think he’s going to be ready for the opener, but we just don’t know.”
A trio of players, Ray Thornton, K’Lavon Chaisson and Andre Anthony, are competing to fill in for Key at the ‘Buck’ linebacker spot.
Orgeron said LSU wasn’t in any hurry to name an interim starter at the position. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda hinted Monday that he planned to use all three in skill-specific roles.
While the quarterback battle is over, Orgeron and Co. are letting a host of other heated competitions continue to run their course heading into BYU week.
In addition to the ‘Buck’ position, Orgeron intimated LSU would continue to monitor battles at right guard, nickel back, free safety and second-team inside linebackers.
“All those things are still up for grabs, and I like the competition,” Orgeron said.
The right guard competition, in fact, has apparently grown increasingly crowded.
Not only is there “not a lot of separation” between Lloyd Cushenberry and Edward Ingram, who’ve been battling for the starting job, but Orgeron said he’d also be fine with freshman Saahdiq Charles getting the job.
“I think all three of them will do a good job for us,” Orgeron said. “We have not decided on who is going to start there. We’re going to go through the week and figure out who is going to start. It’s up for grabs.”
Charles is the relative new comer to a battle that’s been raging since Maea Teuhema left the program during the first week of camp.
After working at left tackle earlier in camp — Charles started in place of K.J. Malone in the first scrimmage when three of LSU’s starters were out with injury — he’s since shuffled around the line.
“Saahdiq has played a lot of positions,” Orgeron laughed. “His number is 77. Sometimes I think we have four No. 77s on the field.”
The coach didn’t mention Donavaughn Campbell’s name as being in the right guard competition. He did say the sophomore has missed “a lot of time” due to two separate camp injuries.
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