LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly told the media on Thursday that tight end Mason Taylor and linebacker Omar Speights are both at risk of missing this Saturdays game against Mississippi State.
Kelly said Mason Taylor suffered a sprained ankle against Grambling which caused him to leave the game early. Taylor has recovered nicely so far, and he’s participating at practice and is able to run, but Kelly still has him as a game time decision for Saturday.
Whether Taylor is able to go or not, LSU has four freshman tight ends on the roster that will be suited up and getting some meaningful playing time. It’ll be the first real look we’ll get at guys like Mac Markway, Ka’Morreun Pimpton and Jackson McGohan so far this season, and they’re going to have to play a big role both as blockers and as receivers in this game, even if Taylor is a go on Saturday.
On the other hand, Omar Speights is doubtful to play. Coach Kelly says he’s not as far ahead of his injury as Taylor is, but there’s still a chance he could see the field against Mississippi State.
If Speights is unable to go, the Tigers will rely a lot on Greg Penn, Whit Weeks and West Weeks to fill Speights’ spot. Kelly said the injury to Speights won’t change their game plan for Harold Perkins, meaning they still plan to move him all over the field.
For the injury update, Taylor and Speights are the only two listed with an injury, but there are still a few more players who will see their playing time increase this week.
First of whom is true freshman Da’Shawn Womack. Womack earned his first collegiate snaps last weekend against Grambling, and in his limited time, he was one of LSU’s best defenders. He earned the teams 3rd highest defensive grade from PFF and was disruptive in run defense. He’s had a good fall camp and Kelly must’ve liked what he saw from him against Grambling, because he had high praise for the freshman on his radio show Thursday night.
Two other guys on the defensive line you should keep your eye out for is Jordan Jefferson and Jacobian Guillory. Coach Kelly thought they were LSU’s two top defensive lineman against the run last week, and if Mississippi State stays true to running the ball, they could see the field a lot this Saturday.
The last guy you can expect to see more of on Saturday is freshman running back Kaleb Jackson. To start the year, Aaron Anderson was slated to do a lot of the returning work, but that was quickly thrown out the window with the emergence of Kaleb Jackson. Jackson has given the coaching staff a lot of reason to believe in him in both the ground and return game. He’s a physical runner and proved last week that he deserves more playing time.
Things are looking up for LSU injury wise. Outside of the injury to JK Johnson in camp, which seems to have sidelined indefinitely, LSU hasn’t sustained any major injuries to this point. If the Tigers can stay healthy and get some of these talented freshmen involved more, they’ll be in a good spot for the rest of the season.