After tearing his bicep in fall camp and finding out he may be out for the season, junior defensive tackle Quentin Thomas made a speedy recovery that allowed him to start against Wisconsin.
“I believed in my heart that I wasn’t going to be out for the season,” Thomas said. “I didn’t expect to be back so soon, but I’ll take that. People ask me every day if I am hurting, and I just tell them I’m good, and they don’t expect that.”
Typically, a bicep injury similar to his would require surgery and months of rehabilitation. After conducting strength tests on the injured arm, however, trainers were surprised at his drastic improvement and left it up to him to decide if he wanted the surgery.
“All the team doctors looked at me — they must have each looked at me three times — and they had no explanation for it,” Thomas said. “I told [athletic trainer] Andy Barker, I told him in the past that I heal fast, and I was just joking, but apparently I do.”
Although Thomas didn’t believe he would be out the entire season, even he was surprised by his return to the field in such a short timeframe.
“The week before, I was out for the season,” Thomas said. “And then the next week, it was I might be back at some point during the season. And then come game time, I’m out here for the first game of the year. Being out there was something special.”
DeSean Smith and the tight ends have a rough outing
LSU’s tight ends had a difficult performance against Wisconsin. Senior Travis Dickson caught a seven-yard pass that ended in an early fumble, and sophomore DeSean Smith dropped a wide-open pass in the second quarter.
“Right after I did it, I was like, ‘I don’t drop this,’” Smith said. “This isn’t me. I’m not going to let that affect me for next week’s game, I’m just going to keep preparing myself and come out here and work extra and catch more balls.”
Smith played all 13 games his freshman season but only managed to make one catch. In an offense that isn’t heavy on passing to tight ends, the lack of production by the unit against Wisconsin was disappointing to Smith.
“We ask for the ball, and we finally get it,” Smith said. “Me and Travis both need to make those plays and prove to them that we can make those catches and help the team.”
Although the performance was disappointing, Smith isn’t letting it get to him.
“The best drop balls,” Smith said. “Nobody’s perfect. I’ve just got to let it go and move on.”
Jalen Collins already showing improvement from 2013
Junior cornerback Jalen Collins made himself known against Wisconsin as he begins to rebound from a disappointing 2013 season.
“I guess I had a pretty good game, that’s what everyone is saying,” Collins said. “I just went out there and did what I’ve been doing since camp started, and just went hard.”
In his redshirt freshman year, Collins was named to the Freshman All-SEC team and had 30 tackles, six pass breakups and two interceptions. His sophomore year yielded more lackluster results, with 22 tackles, two pass breakups, no interceptions and him falling behind in the pecking order.
“I refocused myself. Last year wasn’t good for me, and I had to improve on it,” Collins said. “Since I came into this offseason with a little bit more focus and a little more experience under my belt, I knew what to expect and how to play and practice.”
Collins made six tackles against Wisconsin, his fourth career start. He chased down Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and turned what seemed like a sure 75-yard touchdown run into a 63-yard gain.