Damien James was not at Wednesday's practice, making it three days in a row the senior from Carencro has not reported. The following is from this evening's news briefing with Nick Saban, who noticed right away that there were more reporters present than those of us who are usually cover the LSU football beat:
"I'm sure you'll have questions, and I'm sure that's why we have a full house tonight. It's never the positive things that seem to bring people out.
"…I really don't have anything new to say about it because I haven't talked to the guy. I've been coaching for 30 years or close to it…and never had a guy who's a starter on the team that's having success that ever quit the team in mid-season. So you figure it out.
"We're going to support the guy every way we can, help him every way we can. But obviously now he's missed three days of practice…so I'm assuming he's quit the team. It's just an assumption on my part because I never talked to him.
"There may be other issues involved in this, but those aren't for public information or discussion. Since I haven't talked to him, I don't really know what those issues are.
"You can ask me all the questions you want to ask me about him. I've given you all the information I have to give about it.
"I did not suspend him. I did not have words with him. Nothing.
Q: Do you know if he talked to anybody on the team?
A: Oh, I'm sure he did. He's friends with a lot of the guys on the team.
Q: Has he been seen around school?
A: I don't know, guys. I'm trying to coach the guys on the team who are going to play (WVLA reporter tries interject) because we have a lot of good football players on this team. And I'm here to tell you it's time to move on, all right? It's time to move on. You got it? It's time to move on. I ain't answering any more questions about it.
The guy hadn't come to practice three days. I got nothing else to say about it. We're moving on. You got me? We're moving on.
I don't care if he's around school. I don't care. We're moving on. You got it?
I don't have a problem. We've got lots of good football players on our team that work every day. Let's talk about those guys. I know that's not what you came here to talk about, but that's what we're going to talk about. They deserve better and they deserve better from you.
Q: Will Randall Gay move over to free safety?
A: That's the plan.
Q: And Jack Hunt become the nickel?
A: That's the plan.
Q: With Adrian Mayes in the mix?
A: He's always in the mix. We have eight or nine guys back there that when they're healthy, they all can play. They've got some experience. Some of those guys are going to get a chance now, and they need to take advantage of it. And we need them to take advantage of it.
FROM THE FIELD: At Wednesday's practice, the mood of the team - specifically the secondary - was upbeat and positive. Since Monday, there doesn't seem to be anyone dragging due to Damien James absence.
As for injured players, defensive back Marcus Spears was off crutches on Wednesday and was wearing a smaller ankle brace after having a heavier soft cast on since at least Monday. Saban said it may be a game time decision as to whether Spears and running back Shyrone Carey play. Carey did practice with a no-contact jersey on Wednesday after hurting his shoulder against South Carolina.
Saban said he is spending time in practice with his team working on the defense of trick plays since Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville leans toward the unorthodox. The coach also noted the progress Marcus Randall is making with the offense and believes his team is becoming more balanced as the season goes on.