LSU fullback J.C. Copeland ready to go after mishap

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU fullback J.C. Copeland dives for extra yardage near the goal line in the Tigers' 17-6 win over Florida on Oct. 12. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU fullback J.C. Copeland dives for extra yardage near the goal line in the Tigers' 17-6 win over Florida on Oct. 12.

LSU fullback J.C. Copeland learned a hard lesson a few weeks ago — wash the soap off your feet and hands before exiting the shower.

Copeland, who missed games against Ole Miss and Furman, slipped on a soapy foot and suffered a concussion two days before the Oct. 19 loss in Oxford, Miss.

Walking out of the bathroom, Copeland tried to catch himself with his hand.

Problem is, his hand was soap-filled too, he said.

“I was walking and I was turning the corner and I slipped and my hand slipped while I was falling, tried to catch myself and I hit the side of my head,” Copeland said Monday in his first public comments about the incident. “That’s all I remember after that. Five to 10 minutes was like a blank, and I didn’t know what happened.”

Copeland went full-contact at practice Monday and said he’s 100 percent healthy ahead of Saturday’s game between No. 10 LSU (7-2, 4-3 SEC) and No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0).

A 6-foot-2, 272-pound Georgia native, Copeland’s return boosts LSU’s power run game against a Tide defense bent on stopping the run.

Alabama ranks seventh in the country, allowing just 101 yards a game on the ground.

After slipping, Copeland said he was “dazed” for the next few minutes. At one point, he called himself by another name, “Luscious Brown.”

“Don’t know where that came from,” he said.

Copeland has been cleared to play, despite some brief headaches last week. He can drive now, too, though he might have to turn his “music down a little bit,” he said.

The three weeks off has Saturday’s game feeling like a season opener.

“Me personally, it’s a different feeling. I’m ready to come back, and it just happened to be this game,” he said. “I feel the same as going to play the first game of the season.”

Is Saban the best?

Fair or not, LSU coach Les Miles routinely gets compared to his predecessor, Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Asked if Saban is the most successful coach in college football, Miles said, “Yeah, I’m certain that there’s an argument to be made for coach Saban and the things that he’s done certainly in the national title games.

“I think he does a wonderful job recruiting and he puts together offense, defense and special team in a very efficient manner.”

LSU running back Jeremy Hill hasn’t forgotten who coaches the Tide.

The Baton Rouge native remembers when Saban walked the sideline as LSU’s coach.

“I watched it my entire life,” he said of the LSU-Alabama game.

“It’s an intense rivalry, especially when coach Saban took over over there.”

Safety trio back

LSU safeties Ronald Martin, Craig Loston and Corey Thompson are all healthy and are expected to play Saturday against Alabama.

The trio of safeties has been nicked up at times this season, but Miles said Monday the group is healthy.

Loston, Martin and Thompson have missed a combined six games, each missing at least one.

“It’ll be a great thing. Any time you go into a game injury-free and don’t have to worry about anything and just play, that’s what we’re looking forward to,” Loston said. “I’m happy we’re all healthy and ready to get out there.”

Lagniappe

Hill is 78 yards away from becoming LSU’s first 1,000-yard rusher in a season since Stevan Ridley did it in 2010. … This is the first time since 1996 that LSU will play a No. 1-ranked team on the road, not including neutral sites. LSU is 2-10-1 all-time against top-ranked squads. … LSU owns more wins over Alabama than any team in the nation since 2007, at three, and has won five of the past six in Tuscaloosa, Ala.