Fourth-ranked Tigers expect starters back for Florida game

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

BATON ROUGE — Whether or not the “real” LSU stands up this week or not is yet to be determined.

But, the Tigers will have a lot more of the real starters on hand when they face their first major challenge with a trip to

Florida on Saturday.

Head coach Les Miles is notoriously coy

— often downright deceiving — when commenting on his team’s injuries.

But he said

Monday he expects a host of starters back after they either sat

out or saw limited snaps in the lackluster victory over Towson

last week.

“The guys who have been nicked are going to return very quickly,” Miles said.

A host of younger players started or

saw considerably more playing time last week in an attempt to get

regulars healthier

as the Tigers now get into the meat of the schedule which, after

Florida, includes games against South Carolina and at Texas

A&M then an open date before the Alabama game.

“When you play a number of young guys,

it takes them a game or so to get themselves squared away,” Miles said

delicately.

“I think we played a number of young guys ... but guys that are

not necessarily going to see a lot of action when we get into

the heat of conference.”

The news was even encouraging for fullback J.C. Copeland, although he won’t play this week.

It was feared, however, that Copeland, who couldn’t put any weight on his left leg when he was helped off the field Saturday,

might be lost for the year.

“We’ve heard some very encouraging things, and we’re hopeful for a quick recovery,” Miles said. “We hopeful that rehabilitation

is all that it will take, just a little bit of time.”

Miles confirmed that Josh Dworaczyk, who was already a backup filling in for preseason All-American Chris Faulk at left tackle,

was not “benched” Saturday. He was held out of the game to rest a severe calf contusion.

“I think Dworaczyk will be in a better position to play,” Miles said of this week.

Dworaczyk, who suffered his injury against Idaho, tried to play in the Auburn game but struggled while allowing two sacks.

LSU tried a re-shuffled offensive line against Towson, with right tackle Alex Hurst moving over to Dworaczyk’s spot and true

freshman Vadal Alexander getting a shot at right tackle.

The results apparently were mixed, although Miles tried to be kind to the true freshman.

After praising the play of true freshman Kwon Alexander at outside linebacker, he was asked about the other Alexander in the

offensive line.

“(Vadal) Alexander is a guy that has ability that will come,” Miles said. “I don’t know that his immediate play was the same

as Kwon’s was.”

The two Alexanders gave LSU three true freshmen starting last week, along with regular starter Jalen Mills at cornerback.

Kwon Alexander was playing in place of senior Luke Muncie, who was suffering from flu-like symptoms last week and sat out

the game.

“I think Luke’s getting better and I think he will play more significant snaps this Saturday,” Miles said.

Defensive end KeKe Mingo also was limited last week, but benefited from rest and should be ready this week.

Miles also discounted the notion that

tailback Spencer Ware, who sat out the second half last week after being

in a big first-half

collision, wouldn’t be ready this week.

“Spencer came out off the game with little bumps and bruises, no different than any number of guys that play in a quality

football game.”

But Copeland, a massive 275-pounder in the backfield, has been a key factor while blocking for the running game.

Tailback Kenny Hilliard has played some at fullback, and might line up there some this week.

“(True freshman tailback) Jeremy Hill

has also taken some snaps there,” Miles said. “But (sophomore) Connor

Neighbors is probably

a great way to go. He’s really developed and I think he’s very

deserving of snaps.”

“I fully expect Connor Neighbors to

have a great week of practice and play his tail off this week,” said

quarterback Zach

Mettenberger, who is Neighbors’ roommate. “I know he can get the

job done. I’m for sure looking for a great week from him.”