User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
No. 4 LSU's depth faces big test at No. 10 Florida

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU is about to hit the toughest part of its schedule now with a handful of key players either unable to suit up or hobbled with injuries.

Advertisement
Turns out the dismissal of the honey badger, Tyrann Mathieu, was only one of several episodes of misfortune for the fourth-ranked Tigers.

At least four players who were projected starters back in early August won't be on the field for LSU (5-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) at No. 10 Florida (4-0, 3-0) on Saturday.

Losing Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist as a cornerback and punt returner, was a big blow on its own. But it was just the beginning.

-Linebacker Tahj Jones has not played because of academic problems.

-Left tackle Chris Faulk, arguably the top pro prospect on the offensive line, is out for the season with a knee injury that he suffered during practice before the Tigers' second game against Washington.

-Top running back Alfred Blue is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury from LSU's third game against Idaho.

-Then last Saturday, J.C. Copeland, a 270-pound fullback with three touchdowns this season, injured his knee against Towson.

Copeland returned to practice on Wednesday and still could play. If not, that would further test LSU's depth against the Gators, who had last week off and are getting healthier.

``It is a challenge. There's no doubt about it,'' said offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk, who has started for Faulk at left tackle but could move to right tackle this week. ``For a team to have the depth chart challenged the way that we're at, at this point in our season is certainly something that we have to hit head on.''

Meanwhile, there is mostly encouraging news on the injury front for Florida, which looks to be gaining momentum with each victory.

``We were able to get some guys back that I don't know if we had played last week would have been able to play in the game,'' Gators coach Will Muschamp said.

Defensive end Dominique Easley (sprained left knee), linebacker Jelani Jenkins (broken right thumb) and versatile fullback Trey Burton (back spasms) all are expected to return against LSU.

Easley and Burton missed the Gators' 38-0 romp over Kentucky two weeks ago.

Jenkins sat out the last two games after breaking his thumb in the first series of a 20-17 win at Texas A&M. He'll take protective measures, such as wearing a soft cast, against LSU.

``Certainly, his experience, maturity, play-making ability, being able to make some defensive calls and calm some guys down in situations in a game like this,'' Muschamp said of Jenkins. ``There is no question it will be an added boost.''

The knee Easley hurt is the same one in which he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last November against Florida State, so whether he bounces back quickly remains to be seen.

Florida also was happy to have an extra week to rest leading running back Mike Gillislee, who is averaging 100 yards a game but has been slowed by a groin injury, gaining only 56 yards at Kentucky. His practice snaps were reduced during the bye week to get him back to full speed.

``We've got to do what we've got to do,'' offensive coordinator Brent Pease said in reference to Gillislee's workload. ``If he needs to carry it 30 times this time, he'll carry it 30. ... Mike can handle that.''

LSU has built up quality depth. Since taking over in 2005, Les Miles helped LSU to continue to be an annual contender for a national title.

Without Blue, some of LSU's other talented running backs will get an opportunity. Kenny Hilliard, Spencer Ware and Michael Ford have all had spectacular moments during their careers and freshman Jeremy Hill is showing promise. Hilliard and Ware are also big and tough enough to fill in at fullback.

Dworaczyk is a sixth-year senior and a former starter at guard. He said he feels comfortable moving to either tackle spot, and added that many LSU players are adept at multiple positions, giving the coaching staff a lot of flexibility.

Mathieu's departure in August forced LSU to start freshman Jalen Mills at cornerback, with Mills moving to nickel back and redshirt freshman Jalen Collins coming in at cornerback in passing situations. Mills has a pair of interceptions and Collins has broken up a pair of passes that wound up being intercepted by a teammate on the deflection.

``We don't recruit these guys for no reason. They're great football players,'' said receiver Russell Shepard, who works against Mills and Collins in practice. ``Those guys are ready because the coaches do a great job preparing them and our leaders on the team do a great job of showing them how we play our style of football.''

---

AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Gainesville, Fla., contributed to this report.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 8
Dobish: College Betting Recap - Week 8
SEC first to put 4 teams in top 5
TCU now highest-ranked Big 12 team
Schedule favors No. 2 FSU down stretch
Michigan State figures out balancing act
Cal WR Davis released from hospital
Nebraska's Pierson-El stars on offense too
UF could be pondering Muschamp's fate
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAAFB Hot Streaks
15-5 L20, 23-7 L4 Sat., +1,638 TY
11-5 L16 Picks, +1,758 This Year
6-2 Sat., 26-10 L36, +1,740 TY
5-1 Saturday, 17-8 Totals TY
11-2 Record L2 Saturdays
18-10 Record L4 Saturdays
17-9 L26 Picks, 20-10 L8 Saturdays
6-1 L7, 9-3 Guarantees TY
35-21 L56 Picks, +1,086 TY
7-1 Guarantees This Year
8-4 Last 12 NCAA Guarantees
10-4 L3 Saturdays, 17-8 L25 Picks
5-2 Last 7 NCAA FB Totals
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks
2014 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 1758
Dave Cokin + 1740
Kevin Rogers + 1638
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 380
Kevin Rogers + 355
Pat Hawkins + 315
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Dave Cokin 69 %
The SportsBoss 65 %
Kevin Rogers 63 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 590
Scott Pritchard + 570
Chip Chirimbes + 380
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 977
Stephen Nover + 820
Tony Stoffo + 440
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 1280
Kevin Rogers + 1010
The SportsBoss + 560
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest