BATON ROUGE – LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron did not play any games with his injury report Thursday following practice.
After explaining that tailback Leonard Fournette is “healthy” and “had a good week of practice,” he added, “We expect to use him as much as we can. Obviously, we have to see his conditioning during the game. But I think he’s fine.”
Fournette has missed LSU’s last two games with an ankle injury suffered in the loss at Auburn last month. Asked why he is starting him, Orgeron said, “He’s the first one off the bus, my man. We’ll let him start and go get ‘em.”
No. 23 LSU (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) hosts No. 22 Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2 SEC) at 8 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium on ESPN. Fournette has not played since gaining 101 yards on 16 carries in the 18-13 loss at Auburn on Sept. 24 when he aggravated a previously injured ankle.
Another previously injured player expected to start is left guard William Clapp, who missed the Southern Mississippi game last week with a shoulder injury. Tight end Foster Moreau is also expected back.
“The only one that’s not ready to go is Toby,” Orgeron said.
Starting right tackle Toby Weathersby has missed LSU’s last three games with a foot and ankle injury and is not expected to play. Maea Teuhema will start in his place. Linebacker Corey Thompson, who has not played all season after breaking his leg before the season, returned to practice last week, but he is not ready to play Saturday, Orgeron said.
“You could feel the energy in the room today. It’s going to be a tremendous setting for our young men,” Orgeron said. “We’re ready to go.”
VALENTINE STILL THIRD TEAM: The much publicized return of sophomore transfer nose guard Travonte Valentine is not working out under the new coach, Orgeron, as it did under the former coach, Les Miles. After playing significantly in the Tigers first four games, Valentine’s playing time has been diminishing in recent weeks. He was demoted to third team last week behind starter Greg Gilmore and true freshman Ed Alexander and did not play against Southern Mississippi. He remains at third team entering the Ole Miss game.
“He’s a little bit behind,” Orgeron said. “Right now, he’s third team. He may get some reps.”
Alexander is expected to play despite a fractured bone in his hand. He will wear a protective mitt.
TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE STILL ON PUNT RETURN: Orgeron said Wednesday that Donte Jackson would be returning kickoffs Saturday and punts very soon, but not his week.
“Not yet,” he said. “He’s still got a little ways to go. We like Shaq (nickname for White) doing it.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This could be a big momentum builder for our team. They’re ready.”
---LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron on playing Ole Miss, which opens a five-game stretch against SEC teams.