Tiger Watch: Five LSU players to look out for against No. 7 Florida
The Tigers seem to be getting healthy at the right time with multiple injured players, particularly along the defensive line, likely to make a return this weekend against the No. 7 Gators.
Here are five players we think Tiger fans should be on the lookout for this weekend against Florida.
Michael Divinity Jr. (senior linebacker)
It's been a long, winding 2019 season for Divinity, who started the season off with a one game suspension for a violation of team rules.
The senior linebacker and the team leader in sacks a year ago has played in only two games, totaling 11 tackles and one sack. Divinity injured his leg in a 66-38 win over Vanderbilt and the team is taking a cautious approach with his return as a result.
Well all signs are now pointing to Divinity playing on Saturday, something that would give the Tiger pass rush a huge edge with K'Lavon Chaisson also back in the fold. Coach Ed Orgeron said on his weekly radio show that Divinity would be moving back to his natural position of outside linebacker upon his return to the lineup.
This is an interesting revelation as the Tigers haven't really used too many defensive schemes where two outside linebackers are required. With the reliable play of Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen on the inside combined with the obvious talent level of Chaisson on the outside, it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff utilizes Divinity on Saturday.
Derek Stingley Jr. (freshman cornerback)
The freshman corner out of Dunham High School has lived up to the billing as the nation's No. 1 high school recruit and then some through five games of the season.
Just take a look at the stats. Stingley has allowed 10-of-27 (37 percent) completions while in coverage for 152 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and nine pass breakups. In addition, his 118 yards in punt returns leads the team.
But Stingley will be going up against his first real SEC test this weekend and it will be fascinating to see how he does. With a very thin depth chart behind him and starter Kristian Fulton, Stingley will probably be tasked with guarding a number of different Gator receivers this weekend.
Florida has four senior receivers capable of having big games including, Tyrie Cleveland, Van Jefferson, Freddie Swain and Joshua Hammond. It's no easy task for a freshman corner to be asked to guard experienced receivers like these and it will be interesting to watch it all unfold Saturday night.
Derrick Dillon (senior wide receiver)
It's been a relatively quiet year for the senior receiver, most well known for that huge touchdown reception at Auburn in 2018 that set LSU up to win the game late in the fourth quarter. Dillon was in a precarious situation, playing behind Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall for most of the season.
With Marshall's injury against Vanderbilt sidelining him for the foreseeable future, the Tigers called Dillon's number against Utah State and he delivered.
After totaling four catches in four games, Dillon hauled in four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in the 42-6 win over the Aggies. He was clearly someone the offense wanted to get involved last week and with his ability to separate because of his speed, could be a vital part of Saturday's game to open up the middle of the field.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (junior running back)
There's no doubt Edwards-Helaire has been the rock behind the Tiger's run game this season and don't expect anything less this weekend when No. 7 Florida comes to town.
Everyone in Baton Rouge is all aboard the freshmen running back train and it's hard not to be after John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price combined for 98 yards against Utah State last weekend. But Florida and this defensive line is another beast all together and the coaching staff will give the junior Edwards-Helaire the bulk of the work Saturday.
Edwards-Helaire is phenomenal in pass protection, showing the ability to pick up defensive linemen and linebackers rushing at quarterback Joe Burrow. The trust level between him and Burrow is also what will propel him into a majority of the time on the field Saturday.
Through five games, Edwards-Helaire is averaging 5.5 yards a carry, 72 yards a game and five touchdowns. While those aren't the kind of numbers fans have come to expect from LSU running backs, this year is an obvious case of an offense relying heavily on the passing attack.
It'll be important for LSU to establish the run early against Florida so expect some early carries for the junior running back.
Saahdiq Charles (junior offensive tackle)
Charles has missed three of the Tigers five games due to "coaches decisions." In his absence, the junior left tackle has been filled in for by freshman Dare Rosenthal and senior Badara Traore, both of whom were serviceable when on the field.
Now he's back in the lineup to face one of the elite defensive lines in college football, one that has racked up 24 sacks in five games and has helped Florida become a top-20 defense nationally. Charles will be thrown back into the fire and it will be pivotal that he steps up to the challenge.
The offensive line will be fully loaded and as healthy as it's been all season with guys like guard Ed Ingram available to either start or fill in if someone needs a break. Orgeron said Ingram would start at left guard last week but ultimately decided against it, electing to give him an extra week to really get his legs back under him.
With senior Adrian Magee having a nice start to the season, the left guard spot will be a position to monitor as well as left tackle with Charles' return coming against such a formidable foe.