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LSU resting players like Travin Dural, Ethan Pocic and Tashawn Bower; Valentine making a push for playing time

LSU returned to the practice field for Competition Tuesday and Tiger Blitz was there to take it in. Who sat out and who might have a bigger role because of it?

LSU injury update, players miss practice

The Tigers were without center Ethan Pocic, linebacker Tashawn Bower and wide receiver Travin Dural at Tuesday's practice. It's unclear exactly what's ailing the trio, but Pocic and Bower did meet with the media on Tuesday.

In place of Pocic, Andy Dodd took the snaps at center and even jammed up his hand at one point, but kept practicing.

Present at practice, but donning a gold, limited jersey were defensive ends Arden Key and Lewis Neal and offensive lineman K.J. Malone and Josh Boutte. All four participated fully while reporters were allowed in to watch practice.

At tackle, Toby Weathersby and Maea Teuhema continue to battle it out on the right side, sharing most of the snaps during practice.

In the defensive backfield, Kevin Toliver missed the last game against Arkansas after being questionable and appears to be ailing from some sort of arm issue. Toliver went up against Malachi Dupre in a 1-on-1 drill and came down on his right arm, favoring it as a it hung down at his side as he jogged back. That was something we noticed before the Arkansas games. Toliver was in a full-contact purple jersey though.

John Battle went down with an injury during practice and walked off awkwardly. Xavier Lewis jumped in to practice in place of Battle, who is already playing in place of Rickey Jefferson, who is out for the year with a leg injury. Battle did not return to practice before reporters had to leave.

A full update could come on Wednesday as Ed Orgeron has the SEC Teleconference and his radio show before a Thursday press conference with the media.

Travonte Valentine making a push for time? 

LSU defensive lineman Travonte Valentine has been a tough subject for Ed Orgeron as he continues to miss games due to practice performance. Valentine has now missed four straight games after traveling, but not playing versus Arkansas.

Valentine sits behind Greg Gilmore and Ed Alexander in the middle for the Tigers on defense, but at Tuesday's practice, Valentine was on.

The big man moved quickly in drills, including drawing a little bit of praise from Pete Jenkins in a shuffle and explode drill. Valentine raced through the drill to make a tackle on a dummy and to be honest, that's about as fast as reporters have seen him move.

One source told Tiger Blitz that Valentine has turned up his effort especially with this week being the Florida game. The JUCO transfer wants to earn playing time against the Gators and work himself into the rotation even if it's for a few snaps.

Orgeron did remind Valentine during 1-on-1s to get his hands inside to drive lineman back and Valentine eventually won a 1-on-1 against Will Clapp in practice.

Aranda works on run game

Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda continued his daily 1-on-1 sessions with linebacker Devin White, who continues to earn a bit more playing time with each passing week. 

When the entire linebackers group met up to work, Aranda honed in on the Florida rushing attack and how he wants his talented linebackers like Duke Riley and Kendell Beckwith to defend it. Florida's sophomore running back Jordan Scarlett averages over five yards per carry on the year.

Aranda made notes to his middle linebackers that when a power comes their way off either tackle, that he wants them using their hands, not their shoulders to fill it. Using your shoulder can result in getting pancaked, losing leverage and the ability to work off blocks. 

Riley and Beckwith got the lion's share of these reps with White and Donnie Alexander working in behind them. Florida's rushing attack was shut down and held to 12 yards by the Arkansas defense that got shredded by LSU's running game last week. 

With quarterback Austin Appleby making the start, LSU figures to load the box to defend the running game and force Appleby to beat them. If the Razorbacks had that type of success against the banged up Gators, LSU thinks they can too.

For more on the injuries hurting the Gators, Scout has a breakdown of the Gators' injury report.

Other Notes:

  • Defensive end Sci Martin, who has played sparingly this year, garnered praise from Ed Orgeron and the entire defensive line group as Martin went up and held his own with the likes of DeSean Smith and Chidi Okeke. Orgeron yelled, "Sci came to play today!"
  • NFL scouts in attendance: Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans.

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