BATON ROUGE - Why not let "college football's fastest man" return kickoffs and punts? It makes sense to new interim LSU football coach Ed Orgeron.
LSU sophomore cornerback Donte Jackson has run the 40-yard dash in 4.2 seconds and had the fastest 60 meters time among college football players participating in track last February at 6.63 for LSU, hence the moniker. This season, he has returned three kickoffs for 93 yards with a long of 40 yards and a 31-yard average. Jackson will return kickoffs Saturday when No. 23 LSU (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) hosts No. 22 Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2 SEC) at 8 p.m. in Tiger Stadium.
"We do like his ability to break the long one," Orgeron said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. "We think that he does a great job of securing the ball. He has tremendous vision."
Jackson showed that on a 40-yard interception return against Jacksonville State this season.
Sophomore tailback Derrius Guice has returned five kickoffs this season for 104 yards - a 20.8-yard average. But Jackson has been used more as Guice's tailback play increased with the ankle injury to starting junior tailback Leonard Fournette, who is expected to play Saturday for the first time since the Auburn game last month.
"We wanted to give him (Guice) a little break, but also give a chance to Donte to return the kicks, and hopefully soon he can return punts," Orgeron said.
Senior cornerback Tre'Davious White has been LSU's regular punt returner since the 2014 season. No one other than White has returned a punt for LSU this season as he is averaging 8.0 yards a return on 10 returns with a 60-yard touchdown. White has also returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown in the season opener against Wisconsin.
FOURNETTE PROGRESSING: After three weeks out of practice with an ankle injury, Fournette practiced Monday and Tuesday of this week in preparation for the Ole Miss game Saturday.
"He looks like he's full speed from the first two practices," Orgeron said Wednesday. "But we are going to monitor him a little bit, make sure he's OK. I asked him yesterday how he felt his conditioning was. He said he felt that he was fine. Obviously, we're going to give him the football and let him do what he needs to do."
Orgeron expects Fournette to let him know during the game how his ankle and how he is feeling.
"I think he's going to be able to tell me that," he said. "When he needs a break or when he doesn't need a break. But we plan on using all three backs."
The trio is Fournette, Guice and junior Darrel Williams.
ARDEN KEY ON BEDNARIK LIST: LSU sophomore defensive end/outside linebacker Arden Key has been named to a list of 10 players to watch for the Chuck Bednarik Award that goes to the nation's best defensive player. Key leads the SEC and is fifth nationally with seven sacks and leads the SEC with three forced fumbles. Three other LSU players are on the Bednarik top 10 - safety Jamal Adams, cornerback Tre'Davious White and middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith.
Key predicted before the season that his goal was 20 sacks this year. He is almost halfway there.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We know that Tiger Stadium is going to be wild on Saturday night."
---LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron on the Ole Miss game.