Sometime during Saturday’s football game, a Washington defensive lineman looked at LSU fullback J.C. Copeland and asked him, “Why couldn’t you be playing defensive tackle?”
The answer is essentially that the former defensive lineman is having too much fun contributing on the other side of the ball.
Not only as a steamroller blocker with his 6-foot-1, 272-pound frame, but the junior from LaGrange, Ga., also is starting to build a reputation as a tough yards runner as well.
Copeland had two carries for zero net yards last season. So far this year, he has six carries for 35 yards and a touchdown in each of the Tigers’ first two games.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” said Copeland, a big bushy beard wrapping around his jaw. “I had a couple of mess ups the first game, but I’m really growing. I’m learning the game a whole lot more, and that makes me a more effective player.”
Copeland’s touchdown against Washington came late in the first quarter after Spencer Ware carried eight yards to the Huskies’ 2 in his first action this season.
It took Copeland two cracks, but he got in.
“I want him (Ware) to score, but if he doesn’t I’m going to pick up where he left off,” Copeland said with a smile.
The only thing left for Copeland is to catch a pass, something he insisted he’s quite capable of doing.
“I can catch it,” he said earnestly. “If they throw it to me, I can get open and get downfield.”
Defensive backs beware.
Defensive end Barkevious Mingo nearly had an interception in the second half of the Tigers’ 41-3 blowout of Washington, but even if he’d managed to hang on to the pinballing pass, he said he wouldn’t have been able to make it into the end zone.
“I wasn’t going to run it in,” Mingo said. “I was going to have to pitch it.”
The reason was a sprained ankle he suffered just a couple of plays before. The injury left Mingo sidelined for Monday’s practice, but not so injured that coach Les Miles was wary of discussing it Monday or allowing Mingo to meet with reporters.
Despite walking around campus with a protective boot on his lower leg, both said he should return to practice Tuesday.
“It’s just a little sprain,” Mingo said.
ESPN gets LSU-Auburn
The Tigers’ first road game of the season will be another nighttime affair, as ESPN has selected the Sept. 22 LSU-Auburn game for a 6 p.m. start from Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Washington game also was on ESPN. LSU opened against North Texas on ESPNU, while this Saturday’s home game with Idaho will be a 7 p.m. kickoff on TigerVision, LSU’s in-house pay-per-view network.
The rest of the Sept. 22 Southeastern Conference TV schedule includes: Ole Miss at Tulane (11 a.m., FSN), Kentucky at Florida (11:21 a.m., SEC Network), Missouri at South Carolina (2:30 p.m., CBS), Rutgers at Arkansas (6 p.m., ESPNU) South Carolina State at Texas A&M (6 p.m., FSN), Akron at Tennessee (6:30 p.m., CSS) and Vanderbilt at Georgia (6:45 p.m., ESPN2).
Monty, Mills honored
Junior defensive end Sam Montgomery and freshman cornerback Jalen Mills both picked up SEC player of the week honors, the conference office announced Monday.
Montgomery was named co-defensive lineman of the week along with Damontre Moore of Texas A&M. Mills was named freshman of the week.
Montgomery had four tackles (with one sack) and another half-tackle for loss against Washington, a week after not starting and having no tackles against North Texas. Mills was second on the team with seven tackles and recorded his first career interception.
The Tigers will break out their purple jerseys Saturday for the first time this season. LSU also will wear purple for its next home game, Sept. 29 against Towson.
LSU usually wears purple for its second nonconference home game, but didn’t against Washington because it was on national TV.
Defensive end Lavar Edwards welcomes the change.
“We don’t get a chance to wear purple often,” Edwards said. “It’s a switch, and I like that.”
In another nod to LSU’s unprecedented success since 2000, the Tigers have won 26 straight games in purple jerseys dating back to that season, according to LSU assistant sports information director Bill Martin. That includes a 17-0 mark under Miles.
Mo for the fans
Former LSU and current Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mo Claiborne enjoyed his return to Tiger Stadium on Saturday as an honorary guest captain.
“I’ve never been to Tiger Stadium on that side,” Claiborne told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I got to experience a little tailgating also, so it was great.”
Claiborne bought an electronic billboard near I-10 and College Drive last week to express his appreciation to LSU’s fans.
“I sat down with my agents and tried to think of something and we just started throwing out things,” he said. “That was one of the things that stuck out.
“Everybody loved it. It meant a lot. Those guys (the fans), they help us when we’re down in Tiger Stadium. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, those guys are always there cheering us on and pumping us up.”
Sheldon Mickles contributed
to this report.