Les Miles said on Monday that he can’t talk about injuries too much due to Homeland Security. On Wednesday, it was HIPPA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
One thing Miles did share is that LSU’s offensive line, which used eight different linemen and saw four of five starters miss action against Mississippi State, is getting healthy.
"The health of our offensive line is returning," Miles said. "They’ve all practiced. We had a couple guys miss time based on cramps, and we think we’ll be fine when we go to the game.”
Left tackle K.J. Malone is one that has upped his intake of water to battle cramps.
Miles expects the group to take the field against Auburn will all be healthy.
"I think those guys are healing and we’ll expect a full five of quality, quality guys to take the snaps.”
With right tackle Toby Weathersby seen in a boot on Monday night, it’s tough to say how healthy, but Miles stressed it’s mainly “nicks.”
"There's not really a series injury in the group."
As for Weathersby and his status, when pressed at his press conference on Wednesday night, Miles offered this up.
“Status is healthy and alive.”
Maea Teuhema would likely start at right tackle if Weathersby can’t go.
Key a area of concern for Auburn
Jeff Hanisch - USA TODAY SPORTS
“He’s very difficult to block 1-on-1,” Miles said on the SEC coaches teleconference this week.
The SEC’s sack leader Arden Key is at the top of the list for preparations for Auburn this weekend. Key leads the SEC with five sacks through three games. Auburn is aware of what Key brings to the table.
“They’re one of the best 3rd down teams in the country with Arden Key,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said on the SEC coaches teleconference.
LSU has moved to a four-man front more and more in each game, allowing Key to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. Miles said the plan for the defense won’t change much and Auburn will be prepared for it after the Tigers’ tough first games including games against Texas A&M and Clemson.
"We're going to do the things that we do. They've played some great defenses,” Miles said.
Key set a goal for himself for 20 sacks this season and just three games in, the sophomore is on track to hit that number.
Etling cool under pressure, improving execution
Derek E. Hingle - USA Today Sports
Les Miles said it best on Wednesday.
“If you’re going to extend drives, you have to have success on third down.”
After going 2-for-12 on third downs with Brandon Harris under center, LSU has managed to be 14-for-27 on third downs since the move away from Harris.
A lot of the improvement is due to Danny Etling's ability to make extend plays with his feet and his supporting cast making plays when called upon.
One area Miles called attention to is Etling’s demeanor while on the field.
“Cool customer. Doesn’t get rattled. He facilitates the offense,” Miles said on his weekly radio show.
Etling will have to be in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night. LSU has piped in crowd noise to practice and “trimmed calls” to help improve communication.
Miles said LSU has stayed with a lot of its base offense, the execution is improving. Etling has kept his mindset simple to improve execution.
“Whatever the defense gives me, I’ll take it,” Etling said. “Just got to be patient and take what they give you.”
The most ringing endorsement Miles has probably given of Etling is simple.
“He absolutely fits us.”
That fit lies in Etling’s ability to direct an offense that keeps drives going with plays on third downs.