LSU coach Ed Orgeron met with the media on Tuesday as the football returned to practice during the bye week.
No. 1 LSU (8-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) and No. 2 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) both have off this week ahead of the two teams’ meeting on Nov. 9 in Tuscaloosa. Still, questions remain about how they will use the extra week to prepare for college football’s biggest game so far this season.
Justin Thomas leaves LSU, Orgeron hopes he can return in the spring
Junior defensive end Justin Thomas has left the University, according to Orgeron. Orgeron said Thomas left for “personal reasons” and he hopes Thomas can come back in the spring.
After injuries to starting defensive ends senior Rashard Lawrence and junior Glen Logan, Thomas stepped up and became a valuable part of LSU’s defense. Orgeron described Thomas as LSU’s most athletic defensive lineman and one of the better pass rushers on the team.
Thomas played in five games and started against Vanderbilt this season. He totaled eight tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack.
No further details about Thomas’ departure were given.
Orgeron said LSU will not talk about Alabama until next Monday. In his press conference, Orgeron did not mention Alabama by name, only calling them the “opponent.”
“It can get old talking about them for two weeks,” Orgeron said. “It can get old talking about them period.”
Instead, LSU has spent time self-scouting, a normal practice during a bye week. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda approached Orgeron with the idea of having LSU’s offense and defense scout each other as if they were preparing for an opponent.
“Today they gave me a report, and it was a phenomenal report,” Orgeron said. “We found out some things about both sides of the football that are going to help us.”
Also LSU will have its annual Tiger Bowl, an intrasquad squad scrimmage that allows backups to play full reps while older players and the starters coach each team in the scrimmage.
“It’ll be a short time out there, getting good experience for some young players,” Orgeron said. “They’ll go home Friday after class then be back Sunday afternoon and then we’ll start working on our opponent next week.”
On Tuesday, the NCAA Board of Governors agreed to move forward with plans to allow student-athletes to be able to profit off of their name, image and likeness. While it’s a big step for the NCAA, the final decision regarding rules and regulations of athletes profiting off themselves will take months to sort out.
“Whatever it’s going to be we’re going to go with it. I’m sure we’re going to compete and be the best at it,” Orgeron said. “I believe players should get what they deserve, but I think there needs to be a cap on it. You need to watch what you do, but they’re not calling me asking for my opinion.
This thing looks like it is rolling fast, I do believe Scott Woodward will be on top of it, and I believe our University will be on top of it. And what we have to do to compete with everybody else, we’ll do.”