LSU notebook: Rashard Robinson cleared to join the team

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU defensive lineman Tashawn Bower Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU defensive lineman Tashawn Bower

LSU football coach Les Miles’ stock reply to questions about freshman cornerback Rashard Robinson’s wait for approval by the NCAA Clearinghouse: He heard good things.

On Wednesday, Robinson finally got the go-ahead to join the team after the NCAA signed off on a transcript that included updated summer coursework.

The highly touted cornerback, who is 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, is a four-star recruit out of the same Blanche Ely High School program in Pompano Beach, Fla., that produced former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and his younger brother Avery Peterson, a wideout on the current roster.

The No. 24 cornerback prospect in the nation, according to Rivals.com, now must play catch-up after missing every bit of the No. 12 Tigers’ preseason camp. Whether the absence might track Robinson toward a redshirt year isn’t a certainty.

“Too early to tell,” Miles said.

As for the process that might help Robinson avoid that outcome, Miles focused on practical matters.

“He’s well behind the curve,” Miles said. “He’s first got to get his feet on the ground academically. ... He needs to find a nice orientation time where he knows where the library is and where academic support is. And in the afternoons, he needs to come over here and practice.”

A fresh start

A potential prop bet for Saturday? The number of LSU freshmen to see reps against No. 20 TCU.

The dominant theme over the course of preseason workouts has been the bevy of newcomers who could see the field, with a depth chart featuring freshmen in defensive end Tashawn Bower, defensive tackle Christian LaCouture and safety Rickey Jefferson in the two-deep.

“It’s really become a part of our program,” Miles said. “This is really no exception to that. We’re looking forward to seeing a quality contribution from our freshmen, some ... in special teams and obviously some of those guys that play on offense and defense as well.”

Outside linebacker Kendell Beckwith and defensive end Lewis Neal could see duty on the kickoff team.

The linebacking corps might have a true six-man rotation outside of starters D.J. Welter manning the middle and seniors Tahj Jones and Lamin Barrow working outside. The sophomore trio of Lamar Louis, Deion Jones and Kwon Alexander figure prominently into that.

“Since I’ve been here, they’ve been talking about rotating, especially linebackers,” Welter said. “We’ve always rolled the D-line and cornerbacks and stuff. This year, honestly, we’ll be able to play a lot more linebackers. We’ll benefit from that.”

Not a chess game?

By now, the chess moves between Miles and TCU coach Gary Patterson would please Garry Kasparov.

On Tuesday, Patterson said defensive Devonte Fields, who entered the season facing a two-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules, would dress out and be on the sideline Saturday at AT&T Stadium.

The depth chart showed “or” alongside Fields and Matt Anderson, indicating either could play. But a source told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the move was intended to throw off LSU.

Miles has remained coy since the start of August about whether running back Jeremy Hill, who was suspended in the offseason after assaulting an LSU student at an off-campus bar, would see action. Miles said Monday it “would not be a surprise” if Hill traveled but would not comment about whether he would play.

Miles said Wednesday he doesn’t suspect any gamesmanship at work.

“I have never been one that has spoke about my business in the press,” he said. “More or less, I’m pretty consistent there. ... I don’t necessarily see any difference in (Patterson’s) approach. This is kind of routine, to be honest.”

The Advocate on the road

Traveling to watch the Cowboys Classic doesn’t mean being without a copy of the newspaper.

Saturday’s edition of The Advocate will be available in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the following locations, courtesy of Manda: the Omni Fort Worth (LSU team hotel), Worthington Renaissance (Fort Worth), Marriott DFW Airport South (Fort Worth), the Warwick Melrose (Dallas), The Joule (Dallas) and the Ritz-Carlton (Dallas).