BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, leading rusher Spencer Ware and defensive back Tharold Simon returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since being suspended a week ago for violating the team's drug policy.
The three missed No. 1 LSU's 45-10 victory over Auburn last weekend, but coach Les Miles said they should be on the field Nov. 5 when the Tigers visit No. 2 Alabama.
"We're practicing, preparing them to play and operating along that way," Miles said. "We're going to plan on using them."
Both teams have this weekend off, giving them two weeks to prepare for the first 1-2 matchup in the regular season in SEC history. Both teams are 8-0, 5-0 in the SEC.
Mathieu has forced four fumbles, recovering three and returning two for scores. He also has two interceptions, 42 tackles (including five for loss) and 11/2 sacks. Ware is the leading rusher for the Tigers with 512 yards and six touchdowns. Simon has one interception and 29 tackles.
KELLY BRUSHES OFF TALK: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly downplayed claims by some USC players that the Irish "quit" in the final minutes of the Trojans' 31-17 victory Saturday.
"Our guys know what happened. They got their butts beat," Kelly said. "They didn't play very well, and that comes with it. You get what you deserve."
Some Trojan players said they were surprised Notre Dame didn't call a timeout during USC's clock-eating final drive, with linebacker Chris Galippo flat-out saying the Irish had quit. USC quarterback Matt Barkley echoed that on a Los Angeles radio show on Monday, saying it seemed as if the Irish had given up.
Galippo apologized Monday, and USC coach Lane Kiffin also called Kelly.
Also, Notre Dame defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore will miss the rest of the season after detaching the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
And tailback Dillon Baxter is no longer part of the USC program though Kiffin, who wouldn't reveal the reasons for Baxter's removal, refused to characterize it as a suspension or a dismissal. He said Baxter is still enrolled at USC.
MINNESOTA: After working for more than eight months under the terms of an agreement struck when he was hired as coach, Jerry Kill finally signed his contract — getting two more years and a little bit more money than in the original framework of the deal. His contract runs through the 2017 season and will pay him at least $1.2 million annually.
SWAC: The Southwestern Athletic Conference is staggering suspensions from the postgame fight between Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The league said the 40 suspended players will be allowed to serve their one- and two-game suspensions over the next three games.