LSU star cornerback Derek Stingley went down with an injury during Wednesday's practice, leaving his status for the Mississippi State game in question, according to coach Ed Orgeron. Stingley reaggrevated the same injury that kept him out most of fall camp Orgeron said, leaving his status very questionable for Saturday.
Losing Stingley would be an absolute killer for this secondary that has its hands full with slowing down the Mississippi State air raid offense. The Tigers will have Elias Ricks, Cordale Flott, Dwight McGlothern and Raydarious Jones available to potentially fill the hole of Stingley. Orgeron said that McGlothern has recently returned and will start opposite of Ricks in the game but there are a number of options the team could turn to.
"I think Dwight is a good corner, everybody's gotta step up," Orgeron said. "We still have Jay Ward at safety we could always move to corner. We have to go in like that."
The Tigers are also expected to see the return of safety Jay Ward against the Bulldogs and freshman safety Sage Ryan also returned to practice, though his status for Saturday's game is also up in the air. LSU didn't play this game last year with Stingley and the thought of having another lockdown corner opposite of Ricks is a dream scenario for this group.
It's completely possible that the defense goes mostly zone, particularly after being burned with man coverage in 2020. Dropping seven or even eight linebackers and defensive backs in coverage could be the answer but he communication must be sound in the middle of the field for it to work.
During the individual portion of Tuesday's practice, the linebackers and defensive backs were seen together going over various coverages. Getting this group on the right track in the middle of the field will be the key to success against Mississippi State and losing Stingley on the outside would be a massive blow to that group.
"We always have the next man up theory," Orgeron said. "We're gonna need everybody, now is another guys chance. Injuries are a part of the game, there's nothing we can do about it, it's very unfortunate. We've got some guys that are excited that haven't played very much."