Tape It Up: LSU Minus 2 For South Carolina

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LSU Minus 2 For South Carolina

LSU will be at a two-man disadvantage when the Tigers take on South Carolina this weekend. After injuring a knee in Wednesday's practice, starting defensive tackle Charles Alexander is gone for the season, leaving the No. 2 Tigers in a somber mood before they take on the 12th-ranked Gamecocks. LSU will have quarterback Matt Flynn back in action, but wide receiver Early Doucet is unlikely to play. Head coach Les Miles has been intentionally vague about the severity of Doucet's injury, but Alexander is definitely gone, while South Carolina will have cornerback Brandon Isaac back in action come Saturday.

Losing Alexander, a member of the nation's best defensive line, is a blow to the Tigers, especially coming in the week of a conference game, but one that they should be able to overcome. The 6-foot-3, 292-pound junior had tallied six tackles and two quarterback hurries in three games for the Gamecocks before suffering the season-ending injury. The team is looking into medical redshirt options that will give Alexander an additional year of eligibility, but in the meantime, LSU has a plan.

Alexander is certainly an experienced player, having seen time in 16 games as a Tiger with eight starts, but with senior All-American Glenn Dorsey available to step up his play in Alexander's absence (as if the best can get any better), the Tigers are not too worried. Especially considering the fact that Alexander made only one tackle in each of his last two games and has yet to record a sack or tackle for a loss on the season. Dorsey, by his side, has two sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss so far. And don't expect him to stop there.

Junior Marlon Favorite is the most likely candidate to take Alexander's spot. The 6-foot-1, 302-pound defensive tackle started four games last season and recorded 18 tackles. He has already seen time this season, with three tackles to his record, as has sophomore Al Woods, Dorsey's backup. He could also see some action in Alexander's old post, especially if his four tackles, one sack and fumble recovery are any indication of what he is capable of producing.

Losing Alexander is certainly going to be mentally tough on the team, but physically, they should be able to keep on rolling without missing too many steps.

Miles has said that Flynn will play on Saturday after taking most of the snaps in mid-week practices, but has not indicated whether or not the senior will get the start. Flynn is still recovering from a high ankle sprain he suffered against Virginia Tech two weeks ago, and should he not be ready, sophomore Ryan Perrilloux will lead the offense.

Miles is still not going into the specifics of Doucet's injury, which is most likely a pulled groin, and has declined to speculate on a timetable for the receiver's return. Although he has only played in two games this season, the senior leads the team in receiving with 15 receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Not Getting Gamecocky
After a scare injury earlier in the week, senior Brandon Isaac has gotten the okay to play in Saturday's game. The
cornerback (who began the year at safety) redshirted the entire 2006 season after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery last August. The news got worse for Isaac when he bruised his left shoulder, the same one on which he had the surgery, in last weekend's game against South Carolina State. The latest injury was painful, but not damaging enough to keep him out of this weekend's SEC showdown. Isaac will not start, but defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said he will play.

True freshman Cliff Matthews should be starting this week after practicing Thursday with a rubberized cast on his hand. He should get the start at weakside linebacker after playing defensive end for the first two games of the season.

Freshman receiver Chris Culliver will travel to LSU despite his banged up ankle, and may play, according to head coach Steve Spurrier. Safety Darian Stewart also hurt an ankle this week, but should start anyway.

Definitely not playing this week for the Gamecocks are offensive lineman Gurminder Thind, who was wearing a walking boot on Thursday, guard Kevin Young and linebackers Dustin Lindsey and Yvan Banag.

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