LSU is hitting the midpoint of fall practice and is a little over two weeks out from its season opener against Georgia Southern.
But the focus hasn't been on preparing for Georgia Southern's triple option offense or a highly thought of Texas team in week two. Instead most of the attention has gone to the injuries across LSU's roster.
Burrow, Delpit and Fulton all return to practice
Coach Ed Orgeron has maintained the majority of injuries are "camp nicks and bruises" in his press conference on Wednesday, but he would like to have everyone available for practice. This week LSU finally got senior quarterback Joe Burrow back on Tuesday after he missed a few practices and the team's first scrimmage, and both junior safety Grant Delpt and senior cornerback Kristian Fulton returned to the defensive secondary on Wednesday.
Delpit is still not 100 percent yet, according to Orgeron, but the All-American safety wanted to return to practice and was seen with a compression sleeve on his left leg. As for Fulton and Burrow both players seem to be practicing in full.
“We had a team pass yesterday and it was outstanding," Orgeron said. "Our guys were on the money. Every time Joe is in there we’re on the money in the passing game. He knows where to go, he makes big plays. He made some big plays today. He’s having a fantastic camp.”
Kardell Thomas injured; Damien Lewis to remain out
Just as key players were returning, freshman guard Kardell Thomas suffered what is believed to be a rather serious injury, according to a report by Billy Embody of 247sports.com.
"Kardell just received an injury right there," Orgeron said. "I don’t know how serious it is. We’re going to see, but I’m sure he’ll be out for a little while. We’ve got some other injuries on the offensive line so we have to find some guys that can play there."
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Thomas joins senior guard Damien Lewis, senor tackle Badara Traore, sophomore guard Chasen Hines and freshman tackle Thomas Perry on shelf. Lewis started all 13 games for LSU at right guard, while Traore two starts at tackle and Hines started once at left guard.
Hines and Thomas were both battling with senior Adrian Magee for the lone starting spot on LSU's offensive line at left guard, and Traore was taking reps there in case he was needed during the season but will primarily be LSU's backup at both left and right tackle.
Hines also backups junior center Lloyd Cushenberry, and the sophomore's recovery from knee surgery along with Thomas' new injury leaves Magee and junior Donovaughn Campbell as the two primary players at left guard.
Orgeron expects neither Hines nor Lewis to be back for LSU's second scrimmage on Saturday, but hopes both players can return to practice soon after.
Young players to get a chance in Saturday's scrimmage
Orgeron said the plan is to shift the reps to the younger players on LSU's roster during Saturday's scrimmage in an effort to get them experience and see what they can do.
The focus will be on freshmen running backs John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price, a handful of young receivers and offensive linemen.
“Davis had a great day yesterday," Orgeron said. "It was short-yardage. He lowered his pads, he had a big physical day. And John Robinson is on our staff, and tells me some players he reminds him of, some pretty good players. John Emery is extremely talented. Might be one of the most talented young men on our team. Those guys are going to play this year. They’re elite backs.”
Other freshmen like offensive linemen Anthony Bradford and Dare Rosenthal (redshirt) have received praise throughout fall camp, and both should see significant reps in the scrimmage.
Another player who has stood out to Orgeron and someone both he and receiver coach Mickey Joseph spoke highly of in the summer is freshman receiver Trey Palmer. Palmer missed an early portion of fall practice with a knee injury but has since returned.
“First day he caught about a 70-yard touchdown pass," Orgeron said. "Showed his speed, and had a big physical hit today on an out route, ran over a cornerback. He shows tremendous skills. We test our players and he’s extremely smart. Picks up stuff. Our coaches are really impressed with him.”