Offensive tackle KJ Malone saw his most extensive action of the season last Saturday in No. 9 LSU’s 31-14 loss to Arkansas and could make his first career start against Ole Miss this week, according to NOLA.com’s Jim Kleinpeter.
The sophomore and son of former Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone, played 46 snaps and recorded five knockdowns, after replacing starting left tackle Jerald Hawkins who went down with an ankle injury. Malone said he was pleased with his performance overall but there’s always room for improvement.
“I think I did good,” Malone said. “I still have a lot of room to improve, but overall I think I did all right.
“It felt pretty natural but then again it’s college, not high school. It was fast, a lot faster (than high school) You get used to it after you get the first snap over with.”
The 6-foot-4, 298-pound offensive lineman was a bundle of nerves when he was told he was going in but his teammates helped settle him down.
“At first when he said I was in my heart started pounding real fast,” he said. (Reserve offensive linemen) Garrett Brumfield and Jevonte Domond came over to me and said, ‘Calm down, just like practice, remember what we do in practice.’ That helped me a lot.”
It’s entirely possible Hawkins will return for the Tigers’ (7-2, 4-2 SEC) game against the Rebels (7-3, 3-3 SEC) but if he can’t, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and Les Miles could decide to move center Ethan Pocic to tackle or stick with Malone. Either way, Malone said he will be ready.
“It’s up to coach Grimes, what he thinks,” Malone said. “He tells us every week to be prepared whenever someone goes down.”