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October 10, 2012

Hurst's status up in the air

The loss of starters in the LSU lineup may go up again in its game against South Carolina on Saturday night.

At his post-practice press conference Wednesday night, Tigers coach Les Miles confirmed that offensive tackle Alex Hurst has missed some practice time this week.

"Alex has some personal issues which have caused him to miss some time," Miles said. "I don't expect him to miss the back end of the week."

According to sources, Hurst is dealing with some off-the-field matters which are weighing heavily on his mind. Hurst did practice Monday. It does appear that Hurst is questionable for LSU's game against the Gamecocks.

Obviously, Miles is preparing for Hurst not to be with the team Saturday. He said that Josh Dworaczyk would start at left tackle if Hurst is not available. Miles did say that Hurst never expressed to him that he wanted to leave the team.

There is no change in the status of guard Josh Williford, who suffered a concussion against Florida. According to Miles, Williford has not returned to practice. Any player with a concussion must pass tests before he can be cleared to play. Miles said Williford could be a "game-time decision."

If both Hurst and Williford are out of Saturday's game, the No. 1 offensive line would consist of Dworaczyk at left tackle, La'El Collins at left guard, P.J. Lonergan at center, Trai Turner at right guard and Vadal Alexander at right tackle. Only Collins and Lonergan were starters in the season-opener.

The only other scholarship offensive linemen who made the trip to Florida are Chris Davenport, Jerald Hawkins and Elliott Porter. Only Porter has had meaningful snaps in the first half of the season.

Miles would not commit to Luke Muncie being the starter at strongside linebacker with Kwon Alexander out due to a broken ankle. Lamar Louis made four tackles in about one quarter of action against the Gators at that position. Deion Jones worked on the strong side in preseason practice.

"Muncie has gotten more reps this week," Miles said. "We have some quality young guys vying for time at that spot."

LSU needs a victory against the Gamecocks to avoid their first two-game losing streak in four years. Miles admitted there has been a different attitude from his team at practice this week.

"It has not been the same chipper group this week," Miles said. "There is a little more want. There is a little more sense of urgency. The guys are ready to make their contributions felt."



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