Mississippi State’s starting left offensive tackle is not expected to play against LSU on Thursday night in Starkville, Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said during the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday morning.
James Carmon, a 6-foot-7, 330-pound senior, suffered a knee injury during State’s 41-34 loss at Auburn last Saturday. He’ll be replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Blaine Clausell (6-7, 295), who replaced him last week.
“Blaine was competing at that position the whole time,” Mullen said. “He was ready to step in last week and he was pretty comfortable. He has embraced this opportunity and he’s working hard to be ready to take on that (starting) role.”
Another starting offensive lineman, center Quentin Saulsberry, also was injured against Auburn, but he might be able to play against the Tigers.
Mullen said he thinks LSU is still “finding its personality” on offense because of a first-year offensive coordinator (Greg Studrawa) and a recent change at starting quarterback when Jarrett Lee ascended to the position eight days before the season opener when Jordan Jefferson was suspended after being arrested.
“They’ve change what they do a little bit, but mot much,” Mullen said. “They’re still physical and want to run the ball. That’s (coach Les Miles’) personality and that’s his team’s personality.”
Mullen said he likes playing on Thursday night even though the Bulldogs are playing the Tigers just five days after playing their SEC opener at Auburn.
“I watch every single Thursday night game,” he said. “The whole country is watching and it’s great exposure for your program. That’s why I enjoy playing those games.
“LSU is probably the top team in the country today and we’re playing them at home in a great atmosphere on national television. It should be a great game.”
Mullen said he wasn’t convinced a second SEC loss would necessarily eliminate State from the SEC West Division race because of “the depth of the league.” “We don’t know what’s going to happen (down the road),” he said.
Like Miles said before him on the call, Mullen said he doesn’t think Tigers’ 11-game winning streak over the Bulldogs has any impact on this match-up.
“You’ve got to take care of the football, play defense, execute in the red zone and be good in the kicking game,” Mullen said. “If we do those things we’ll win, if we don’t we won’t. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve beaten them 50 times in a row or lost to them 50 times in a row.”
Mullen, who described himself as a Boston Red Sox fan, said he doesn’t consider State jinxed against LSU just as he never felt the Red Sox were jinxed during their decades-long World Championship drought ended last decade.
“There’s no jinx,” he said. “They’ve won a couple of World Series in the last few years.”