LSU fullback J.C. Copeland is expected to play Saturday when the Tigers look to rebound from an upset loss to Ole Miss against Furman. But one of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects at his position still probably can't believe why it's even a question.
The 6-foot-1, 270-pound power-blocking madman slipped in the shower after LSU's final practice in preparation for Ole Miss last week, and missed the loss to the Rebels with a concussion. Three years colliding with the SEC's elite front-seven defenders without much more than a scratch, and a little water is what it took to slow him down.
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"Simple slip, put his hand back, his hand moved out of the way and he had a very significant fall. He feels miserable about it, but those things happen," said LSU coach Les Miles.
It wasn't Miles' first time to see something similarly strange. It was the second time in his coaching career he could recall a significant non-football-related injury to one of his players, the other being one who sprained an ankle hustling from a team bus to retrieve a jacket.
As it turned out Saturday, a stronger up-front blocking presence like Copeland might have made a difference for star running back Jeremy Hill, who was held to just 64 yards in the loss to Ole Miss. Copeland embraces and embodies the rugged mentality and style of a traditional NFL fullback. As infrequently as fullbacks are drafted -- some drafts pass without one getting the call -- Copeland has the size and strength to fill the role for one of the few teams that want it filled.
"There's nobody that wanted to be with his team more," Miles added.