Just about the only thing that could derail a loaded LSU team from marching through the SEC West to Atlanta, other than a Nov. 5 showdown with Alabama, are injuries. Over the weekend two Tigers were injured with The Advocate reporting on Tuesday that head coach Les Miles is now down two defenders in 2016.
LSU has one of the most experienced squads in college football with 18 returning starters lining the two-deep. One of the areas on the roster thin due to dismissal or transfers over the past two years is up front on defense. A big hit was taken when lineman Chrisitan LaCouture reportedly suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during a non-contact drill on Sunday.
LaCouture was considered NFL-ready, but opted to come back for his senior year in Baton Rouge instead of turning pro. The 6-foot-5, 301-pound lineman was expected to play both defensive end and nose guard in LSU’s new 3-4 scheme. He was one of the leaders on defense last year, starting 11 games while recording 35 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, and one forced fumble.
The other is a blow to new coordinator Dave Aranda’s depth up front in the loss likely loss of Isaiah Washington. Washington was ready to enter this season on the two-deep at end behind sophomore Arden Key. Last season, Washington broke his hand during fall camp in August, but the former Karr High School standout worked his way back onto the field and wound up appearing in six games.
The extent of Washington’s keen injury hasn’t been revealed by the school but several outlets have reported that the sophomore will miss the entire season.
LSU fans did receive some good news on the defensive front on Tuesday with the report that former defensive tackle Travonte Valentine has returned to the team. The 6-foot-2, 315-pounder was considered the No. 1 junior college lineman in the nation.
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManInLA.