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October 12, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Gary Laney

Gary Laney
  (2:48 PM)

South Carolina's in town for a make-or-break game for LSU and we're all wondering who will line up for the Tigers. Is Hurst going to play? How about Williford? Who in the world does LSU have to block Clowney? It's been a long time since LSU has looked so suspect going into a game, especially a home game. I'm sure you have questions, ask away (I'll start answering at 2 p.m. CDT).

Gary Laney
  (2:59 PM)

Questions are coming in, so let's get this started. I'm with you until 3 o'clock, so ask away.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

So, is Hurst in, or is he out?

Gary Laney
  (3:01 PM)

Here's the latest: I'm sorry to say, not much to report. LSU SID Michael Bonnette said there will be no comment from LSU on either LT Alex Hurst or injured RG Josh Williford until gametime Saturday. I'm keeping my ear open if there are any new developments. Stay tuned.

Matthew (Shreveport)

Is it time to try Rivers?

Gary Laney
  (3:03 PM)

Matthew, I'm not against trying a different QB. If the offense isn't moving the ball, you've got to try something, right? HOWEVER, I'll say this: If not for drops, Mettenberger would be completing just under 80 percent of his passes, which would be unreal. AND, even if you want to blame it on Mettenberger, do you want to make Rivers' first significant snaps against South Carolina behind a completely depleted offensive line?

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Now I'm hearing Lonergan may be hurt too. What's going on?

Gary Laney
  (3:05 PM)

I've heard that too. Lonergan is a guy who will be, to me, questionable on every snap. He's a bad back guy, so he's always a snap away from a spasm or whatnot that can knock him out of a game. I've heard, but haven't confirmed, he may be having a bad back week this week.

Gary Laney
  (3:07 PM)

Let me stop there to assess the O-Line situation. LT Alex Hurst has injury issues and left the team this week for personal issues. One newspaper reported that he's upset with the move from right tackle to left tackle and has left in protest. I can't confirm that (would be a bad move on his part if true though). Meanwhile, Josh Williford got his bell rung against Florida and, as of Wednesday, had not been cleared to play. Add in Lonergan and now you have three of last week's starting five offensive linemen may not start this week.

Tim (Spring, Texas)

Is it true Hurst doesn't want to play LT? If so, he'll never play in the NFL. Even if LT isn't the best position for him, you can't just quit the week you're asked to block Jadaveon Clowney. That will reflect poorly to NFL scouts, wouldn't it?

Gary Laney
  (3:08 PM)

As I said, I can't confirm that. But for exactly the reasons you mentioned, it would be a bad move on his part. There are likely two sides to that story and I'll touch on that a little later, but not stepping up to a challenge is never a good thing.

Craig (Baton Rouge)

Now that the college game has passed Miles by, do you think LSU can convince him to retire to save an ugly situation? Think we could attract a coach like Jimbo Fisher to replace him?

Gary Laney
  (3:11 PM)

Wow, didn't see that one coming. Fisher is an interesting choice for you to make considering that, right now, his name probably gets the same reaction in Tallahassee as Miles' is getting in Baton Rouge this week. Look, no coach in LSU history has gotten to 80 wins as fast as Miles. He's won a national title and played for another. The situation isn't ugly.

Craig (Baton Rouge)

Miles has taken no ownership for this teams problems, blaming it all on the players. As a "players coach", how much longer before the team turns on them? After loss to Texas A&M or Bama?

Gary Laney
  (3:14 PM)

Miles does take some ownership of their issues. He blamed himself for not having the team ready for Towson, for example.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Les Miles>Jimbo Fisher.

Jackson (Bay St. Louis)

How do you protect the passer behind that line?

Gary Laney
  (3:15 PM)

OK, now I'm going to be a bit of a Miles critic: I never would have moved Hurst to the left side. In all the years I've covered college football a point constantly made -- and one I can relate to -- is chemistry is vitally important on an o-line...

Gary Laney
  (3:17 PM)

Two two areas where chemistry is most important on the football field is 1. O-line, and 2. QB and receivers, to me, in that order. Hurst and Williford had good chemistry on the right side, having played together for a couple of seasons. Collins seemed to like playing next to Dworaczyk, who was a coach on the field, almost literally...

Gary Laney
  (3:19 PM)

Now, having said all that, this week it looks like you may have Dworaczyk back next to Collins on the left side and Turner and Alexander on the right side. Collins is back in a comfort zone with Dworaczyk and Turner and Alexander have PRACTICED (not played) a lot together getting reps as second-teamers. So they should have good chemistry with each other. So, all this leads me to say this: I think the o-line might function better than some fear.

Chris (Beaumont)

Les Miles lose his job? Are you serious Craig... I hope you dont work at a job with the same expectations for which you are tossing out there, the man has brought SO MUCH ATTN to LSU is amazing and the entire time most know he is an avg X-O guy, very RISKY coach, but obviously players absolutely love playing for the man and in this day n age, keep the adults out of the equation and let the coach-coach and the players-play... Wow is BR really disappointed in Les? Thats insanity...

Gary Laney
  (3:20 PM)

Good point Chris. Now, if Hurst is sitting out in protest, that chips at the perception of players loving to play for Les. We'll see if that's the case.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

How many sacks does Clowney get Saturday?

Gary Laney
  (3:23 PM)

Interesting question. I think back to the North Texas and Idaho games for LSU. The opponents in those games sold out to protecting their QBs and LSU, as good as it is, did not sack the QB. I can see LSU really circle the wagons on offense, emphasize max protection, emphasize Mettenberger getting the ball out of his hands and protecting the ball, and trying to win with defense and special teams.

Alex (Charleston)

I'm worried because all of LSU's issues are making this look like an easy win for South Carolina. From where I'm sitting, it ain't!

Gary Laney
  (3:25 PM)

Hey Alex from my birth city. I don't say "hometown" because we moved when I was less than a year old, so I have no memories...but it will always be on my birth certificate! Anyway, I don't think it will be easy for SC. LSU will have the best defense the Gamecocks have seen, Saturdays in Tiger Stadium are tough and I think LSU may be able to do a little more on offense than many are assuming.

James (South Carolina)

How much of an impact do you think there will be with Hurst walking out on his team? After a loss in Florida last week, morale has to be down. Sounds like this may be the beginning of a downward spiral.

Gary Laney
  (3:28 PM)

It could be James. They are definitely at a cross roads. If Hurst indeed walked away, not to come back, that could be a huge, HUGE red flag that there is a serious locker room issue. However, the defense has played at a high level and Florida was the only game where the offense was really bad. Against Auburn, LSU got yards, but turnovers killed them at a pivotal point. If the Tigers avoided turnovers and finished drives, they win the Auburn game by two touchdowns and score 20-plus points. It was different against Florida...they just could not move the football.

Andre (Lafayette)

How about getting the offensive line coach out of the press box and on the field to work with those linemen?

Gary Laney
  (3:31 PM)

I completely agree Andre. At this point, I think Mettenberger is OK to come to the sideline and grab a headset to talk with Steve Kragthorpe upstairs. With the possibility of the O-line starting two freshmen, two sophomores and a sixth-year senior (the Dworaczyk, Collins, Porter, Turner and Alexander combo), I'd think offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa might be best on the field where he can have face time with the young linemen between drives. He can still be OC and call plays when they have the ball, but this is a woefully young line right now and they probably need their hands held a little.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Does LSU come out in a completely different look to throw S. Carolina off?

Gary Laney
  (3:35 PM)

Pretty good chance of it, in my opinion. I know Miles mentioned the possibility of lining up Spencer Ware in the wildcat this week. Could be something like that. Could be more subtle, like a tweak on how certain plays are blocked. Anything to get SC's defense thinking and not just reacting.

Ande (Lafayette)

Does this kind of stuff hurt recruiting?

Gary Laney
  (3:38 PM)

Only if you don't win. Winning solves a lot of issues. Miles has always walked that line. You had the Ole Miss clock management debacle, the Alabama game, the Tennessee debacle...but at the end of the day you see 10-2, 13-1, SEC champions, national champion, national runner-up...so none of those things stick. If you are bungling the clock and your go 6-6, you're done. But winning changes everything.

Joe Dirt (Denham Springs)

Is LSU a favorite or underdog?

Gary Laney
  (3:43 PM)

Cop-out answer is a toss-up, same as I said last week with Florida. I'd say LSU's a slight favorite, but the offensive line issues change that. And I'll say this in defense of my pick last week: It was close enough for me to say it was truly a toss-up game. There was a pivotal point after LSU recovered a fumble at the Florida 7 just before halftime. If LSU punches it in there to go up 10-0 at halftime, I think the flow of the second half might have been a little different. Very competitive game.I expect South Carolina to be the same. Very close game with it being decided on a couple of pivotal plays.

Gary Laney
  (3:43 PM)

As far as Vegas goes, I think LSU is a 4-point favorite. I

Thomas (Kenner)

This season has the feel of the 1998 season under Dinardo, starts promising with high expectations, but then the team completely falls apart. The Tigers look like they may not win another until Ole Miss, based on the play the last few games

Gary Laney
  (3:45 PM)

A little early to say that, but if you are right, I'd also bring up the 2008 season where LSU started strong, but things went off the rails in conference. That year, it was young QBs. This year, it's a young QB, poor receiver play and a depleted o-line. But, we're talking about where it went wrong and LSU can still win Saturday and be seriously in the national championship picture.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What is the Worst LSU College Football team ever?

Gary Laney
  (3:46 PM)

You asked this last week. I said you should look up the Curley Hallman years. Thomas brings up Dinardo, who had a couple of pretty bad teams too.

Chris (Santa Monica)

Who would be a good fit at offensive coordinator. I don't see Studrawa lasting after this season.

Gary Laney
  (3:49 PM)

Again, we're getting a little ahead of ourselves here. LSU is still a national title contender. That said, I can see your scenario playing out and it again brings back 2008. After that season, LSU cleaned house on the defensive staff and brought in John Chavis. If things go off the rails this year, I can see that happening on the offensive staff.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

When was the Last Time that LSU has not made it to a Bowl Game because they were so bad?

Gary Laney
  (3:51 PM)

Wow...very pessimistic chat today. First of all, that won't happen this year. LSU is one win away from being bowl eligible and I can't see a team with arguably the nation's best defense not winning at least a couple more games. It's looking like an 8-4, 9-3 kind of team right now...

Gary Laney
  (3:52 PM)

That said, the answer to your question is 1999, 3-8 in DiNardo's last season as head coach. Nick Saban came in and get them to 8-4 the next year and LSU has been bowling ever since.

Jason (Lake Charles)

You defend Mettenerger too much. He's been terrible and needs to go if he doesn't get better.

Gary Laney
  (3:55 PM)

It's interesting. I don't look at it as being a Mettenberger fan, so much as it is creating perspective. Certainly, Mettenberger needs to get better. What I've been doing is simply pointing out that, when you watch the team closely, it's clear that the problems that are related Mettenberger aren't all just about, or primarily, Mettenberger's fault alone.

Jim (NELA)

Are these people crazy? Les Miles is one of the winningest coaches going right now. Jimbo Fisher? They don't want him in Fla. He just lost to NC State. Geez. Wake up and smell the coffee people. You can't win a NC every year. 10-2 or 9-3 is not the end of the world.

Gary Laney
  (3:57 PM)

Funny this is, on my way out of Gainesville listening to the end of the FSU game and post-game after the loss, you could sense a lot of negativity surrounding Fisher. It's universal with major college coaching. Next time Alabama loses -- or even looks bad in a win -- you can bet somebody is going to call in to sports radio or opine on a chat that Saban's at fault. Comes with the territory.

Jeremy (Monroe)

Go Tigers (Neville and LSU). Would an LSU win be an upset?

Gary Laney
  (4:00 PM)

From a poll standpoint, yeah because it would be 9 beating 3. From a Vegas standpoint, doesn't look like it (although it could change). From a perception of the LSU fans, it's looking like it would be treated like a huge upset if LSU wins.By the way, pretty good Tigers team you are pulling for there in Monroe.

Gary Laney
  (4:03 PM)

That's all the time we have. I'll be at Catholic High vs. McKinley tonight at Olympia in BR. Come by and say hi or follow me on Twitter at @glaneyespn. I'll be back on to chat at 11 a.m. tomorrow on GameDay Saturday. See you then.