Tigers’ preseason marked by mostly minor ailments
LSU had a series of relatively minor injuries during preseason camp, but nothing that has coach Les Miles concerned.
The one long-term injury — torn knee cartilage that likely will sideline true freshman wide receiver Travin Dural for the season — happened to a young player that faced an uphill challenge to have significant playing time this season.
Cornerback Jalen Collins was 100 percent for the team’s scrimmage Thursday after missing the first scrimmage last Saturday. Tackle Chris Faulk also participated in the second scrimmage after missing the first.
Running back Spencer Ware, tackle Alex Hurst and safety Craig Loston still aren’t 100 percent, but Miles said each is getting close to being ready to play.
In fact, Miles said, the short-term absence of some of of the Tigers’ starters can actually pay dividends in the long run. He used Hurst as an example. His absence from Thursday’s scrimmage allowed true freshman Vadal Alexander a chance to work with the first team.
“If you’re fortunate,” Miles said, “your veterans will miss a piece of camp and their injury brings them back in complete health and you get some of your younger kids a lot of reps. So then when you start playing games, your veteran is healthy and ready to go with all the experience of a veteran and you’ve really increased some depth, and I think that’s what we’re doing. Vadal Alexander is a guy who’s getting a lot of reps right now, and I think that’s making him better.”
Dworaczyk tries tackle
Alexander wasn’t the only player to get additional reps at tackle because of Hurst’s absence. Josh Dworaczyk, a sixth-year senior who plays primarily guard, started the first scrimmage in Hurst’s absence and split time with Faulk in the second scrimmage.
Dworaczyk has some experience blocking on the outside, having been a No. 2 tackle in 2008 and 2009.
Though he has the size to play tackle (6-foot-6, 300 pounds), Dworaczyk has to adjust to the speed of LSU ends such as Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo and Lavar Edwards when he plays outside.
“Our defensive tackles get off the ball really well,” Dworaczyk said, “but they’re still a tad bit slower than Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo and Lavar Edwards. The speed is the difference. At tackle, the protection turns away, and you’re out there on an island by yourself. You’re one on one with him, and it’s who wants it more. It’s fun; I enjoy it and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me. Going against those guys prepares me in case I have to (play tackle) in a game.”
Magee to have dual role
Miles said sophomore Terrence Magee’s evolution continues to go well. Magee, a standout quarterback at Franklinton High School, who saw limited action at running back last season, is learning to play wide receiver.
Magee played wide receiver in the scrimmage Thursday, but did not get any snaps at running back. “He will take some carries at running back,” Miles said, “but he didn’t take any carries today.”
Miles said he expects Magee to play snaps at wide receiver in games, but doesn’t foresee him working there exclusively.
“I don’t think he will ever make a full-blown shift, he’s too good a runner,” Miles said. “I think he’ll have the ability to come back and run the runs and protect. He’s a very, very bright player who will play a lot of snaps as a receiver.”
Mingo to get break
Mingo began training camp wearing a green jersey, which designates players who are not involved in contact work. He was limited because of a munor muscle strain in his left arm that he sustained while lifting weights.
Though Mingo has been full-go in practice in recent days, Miles said he’d “probably give him some time off” after Mingo participated fully in Thursday’s scrimmage.