by Barca Blog - While I mentioned the loss of safety Ryan Hamilton and offensive tackle James Williams yesterday, here’s an update from Coach Johnson on the status of defensive back Jamie Graham (sprained ankle), tailback Jared Hawkins (sore foot) and defensive back Eric Samuels (sprained ankle) as the Commodores prepare for Mississippi State.
“Jamie’s injury is the same one that’s been bothering him," Johnson said. "Hopefully he can get settled down and get back in there. We had a situation where we had to put freshman Eddie Foster in the game at LSU and move Casey (Hayward) over to Jamie’s position at nickel. Casey did a fantastic job, so we have that option.
“Obviously, we’d like to be able to get veteran guys in there, and if Jamie’s 100 percent or can perform, we’d like to get him in there, but it’s got to be where he’s ready to go.”
“Jared Hawkins status hasn’t changed. They’re working him out to see if he can tolerate it. If so, he may get some practice time this week. It’s just one of those injuries that’s hard to tell. Even when he starts feeling better, you don’t know if he can go full speed. It’s a strange injury.
“On Eric Samuels, you never know until you get out and run. He’ll probably do some of that Monday. We’ll see how it goes.”
Graham sprained his ankle on a kickoff return to close the second quarter at LSU. Samuels was sidelined last Saturday after suffering his injury against Western Carolina. Hawkins has missed both games. All three Commodores will be tested during drills this week with their playing status still to be determined for Mississippi State.
Senior safety Joel Caldwell should get the first shot at replacing Hamilton, although Johnson mentioned a possible rotation at that position depending on the defensive situation. Reilly Lauer, Caleb Welchans and Kyle Fischer are the options to start in Williams’ absence.
“We’re going to have to rely on the depth we tried to build over the past few years,” Johnson added. “The people that went in for the injured in the last game did fairly well. When you start getting them prepared all week and getting them involved in more reps at practice, I think they’ll be even better. It’s an opportunity for somebody to come up. We’ve got to overcome a little adversity here and I think our guys know that. Hopefully it will pick up and those guys will come through. That’s why they’re here and it’s their turn.”