Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Arden Key will wait another week before hitting the field, but perhaps no longer.

Arden Key back at LSU practice, but next week is targeted for his return

Alex Hickey

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU outside linebacker Arden Key has been an unmistakable presence at practice this week.

On Tuesday Key went head-to-head in drills with freshman understudy K’Lavon Chaisson, totally overpowering Chaisson in one instance. Wednesday, things went a step further as Key shed the yellow non-contact practice jersey for the first time this fall.

But just because Key is back in practice does not mean he will be back for LSU’s home opener against Chattanooga. LSU coach Ed Orgeron indicated that Key won’t play against the Mocs. Instead, the SEC opener at Mississippi State is being targeted for his return.

“He’s not cleared to play yet,” Orgeron said during his weekly radio show. “He’s making progress every day. We’re going to find out more next week.”

Key, a junior from Atlanta, tied LSU’s single-game sacks record last season and is expected to be one of the top players off the board in next year’s NFL Draft.

What else did Ed Orgeron say on his radio show?

  • “We wanted the ball to go out of the end zone on kickoffs. We didn’t. We opened the competition this week between Jack Gonsulin, Connor Culp and Cameron Gamble. We’re going to let the best man win. We’re not pleased with our kickoffs or our kickoff coverage. Hopefully you’ll see improvement this week.”
  • “Ten penalties. Eight on offense. They could have hurt us very much. We’ve addressed that this week. We’ve been very strict in our alignments in practice, very strict on not holding. Hopefully we see improvements this week.”
  • “Receivers are the most improved group on the team. Caught every ball thrown to them. Tremendous job blocking. Very pleased with our receiving group.”
  • On LB Donnie Alexander, who missed the BYU game: “Donnie’s back. We’ll let him and Tyler Taylor battle it out and Dave [Aranda] will make a great decision come game time.”
  • “We prepare every week to play great. It’s about ourselves, never about our opponent. We say that we will play at a level they are unable to match. That’s what we did last week and what we plan to do this week.”
  • On Chattanooga’s defense: “They’ve got a couple players who can play in the SEC. You have to be aware of where they are every time.”
  • “We face two challenges. How we handle success. Everyone was patting themselves on the back on ‘Tell the Truth Monday’ after setting all kinds of records. Everyone knows Chattanooga is a lower-division team. We should win the football game. But that doesn’t mean we will.”