Also: Re-scouting Florida, O on his punt returner and Senior Day news
By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Leonard Fournette wouldn’t have been able to play if LSU and Florida had squared off in October as previously scheduled.
That nagging ankle injury persists, but it won’t be enough to keep him out when No. 16 LSU meets No. 21 Florida at noon Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron reiterated Monday that he expects Fournette to be “fine” for Saturday despite continuing to feel soreness in that left ankle. He left LSU’s 38-10 win over Arkansas after appearing to re-aggravate the injury when a defender rolled up on his left leg.
“Leonard is tough,” Orgeron said at his news conference Monday. “I think the ankle is a little sore. If he needs a day off Tuesday, he gets a day off. … I do believe he’s going to be fine.”
Orgeron says the decision on how much to rest Fournette during the week will be left up to Fournette and trainer Jack Marucci.
If Fournette is at all limited, it does help to have the Co-SEC Offensive Player of the Week in Derrius Guice ready to step up and pick up any needed slack.
Here’s some other news and notes from Orgeron’s press conference — plus a few additional LSU nuggets:
– Orgeron talked about the odd phenomenon of scouting Florida for a second time this season. LSU got four days of preparation in ahead of the originally-scheduled game against the Gators before it got originally postponed: “A lot of the plays are the same,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we felt we had prepared very well for. There’s some things that they have changed, so we’re going to have to change. So I think it gives you an advantage that you know that opponent very well, but you have to start back from scratch.”
– Despite recent struggles, Orgeron indicated Tre’Davious White will likely remain LSU’s punt returner. He made an ill-advised catch on a punt at his own 3-yard line against Alabama and muffed a punt against Arkansas. “We’re going look at some things this week, obviously,” Orgeron said. “We believe in him. He made a mistake. He’s going to be our returner, but we’re going to be ready to put somebody else in if he doesn’t perform, but I do believe he’s going to bounce back. He’s a competitor.”
– Saturday will be Senior Day. Injured defensive lineman Christian LaCouture will be recognized during the ceremonies while outside linebacker Corey Thompson will not. Orgeron said previously that Thompson wants to redshirt and apply to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.
– Orgeron on draft-eligible juniors: “I’m going to recruit those guys, but I’ve been around long enough to know most have made their decisions already.”
– Speaking of Senior Day, a reporter asked Orgeron if felt any empathy for Florida coach Jim McElwain, who now has to beat LSU in Tiger Stadium to clinch the SEC East. Orgeron responded with a flat “No.” The coach also embraced his inner Bill Belichick when asked about recent buzz that LSU will land a Sugar Bowl bid if it wins out: “Florida. Noon. Saturday.”
– LSU confirmed nine seniors have been invited to participate in postseason all-star games. It’s unclear at this time how many will commit to participate.
Three to the Senior Bowl: CB Tre’Davious White, LB Kendell Beckwith and C Ethan Pocic.
Nine to the NFLPA All-Star Game: Beckwith, White, Pocic, LB Duke Riley, WR Travin Dural, TE Colin Jeter, OL Josh Boutte, DL Christian LaCouture and OLB Tashawn Bower.
Here’s a bonus laugh for those of you who read to the bottom: An exchange with Orgeron at the press conference
Got the transcript of Coach O's presser.
— James Moran (@SmartestMoran) November 14, 2016