LSU Spring Game Takeaways
White hot plasma cracked across the sky creating a strobe effect. The deafening sound of rain pounding against my windshield all but drowned out the noise from radio.
I was on my way to work Tuesday morning last week and thoughts of Wednesday and Thursday filled my head in hopes that the weather would be less morose.
Each remaining day in the week proved me wrong as the constant showers, overcast skies, and endless dreariness persisted.
Yet, just as the Sun was becoming a distant memory, the clouds parted, and the familiar sounds of football once again echoed across Tiger Stadium.
It was time for the annual and often overanalyzed LSU spring game, and fans were eager to draw their premature conclusions about how the team will perform in the upcoming season.
If anyone claims that they attentively watched the entire spring game, that person is either lying to you or is in his/her first year in the Nick Saban rehabilitation program for washed-up coaches.
Nevertheless, it was great to have a preview of what the team will look like in the upcoming season, especially with recent coaching staff turnover and the supposedly tight competition for the starting quarterback position.
The quarterback competition was really what the spring game should have been called as LSU only dressed out one scholarship running back for the game. All four Tiger quarterbacks combined to throw 81 total passes and four touchdown passes. By the end of the game it was clear that the starting job is really between redshirt junior Myles Brennan and sophomore Max Johnson.
Sophomore T.J. Finley may have the best arm on the team, but his inconsistency both last season and in the spring game places him at a distant third on this depth chart. Garret Nussmeier showed some real promise for a true freshman and is certainly an exciting addition to the team, but it’s clear that he still has some growing to do before he is ready to play in the Southeastern Conference.
I believe Brennan will be the starting quarterback when the Tigers take the field against UCLA in September.
The LSU coaching staff has alluded to the idea that it will try to recapture the magic it enjoyed in the 2019 offense by utilizing the running back position in route combinations along with the traditional roles of running the ball and pass blocking. Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery, Jr. will attempt to emulate what former Tiger great Clyde Edwards-Helaire accomplished almost single-handedly in the 2019 season, but up to this point I have questions about whether or not that is a realistic expectation with two guys who had trouble staying healthy last season.
This year’s wide receiving corps has the potential to be the deepest position on the field outside of quarterback with Kayshon Boutte being the obvious go-to receiver. However, Jontré Kirklin ended the spring game with 16 catches for 209 yards and clearly proved to be a reliable option downfield. I expect Jaray Jenkins and Koy Moore to also have big contributions on this offense, and we may also see Moore take snaps at running back this season as the coaching staff attempts to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
On the offensive line, Dare Rosenthal and Austin Deculus will anchor the team at tackle with Ed Ingram and Chasen Hines in at guards. Anthony Bradford is a guard that coach Ed Orgeron has spoken highly of on multiple occasions, and look for Cameron Wire to contribute an extensive amount on the line as well.
To put it simply, the offensive line will have to play better than they did last season if LSU wants to develop any sort of consistency on offense.
Then, there is the defense. A once proud fixture of LSU football tradition that decided to opt out of playing in the 2020 season.
All things considered, I thought the defense showed a lot of promise considering starters like Mike Jones, Todd Harris, Micah Baskerville, and Clemson transfer Mike Jones did not play.
It would have been difficult for the defense to be worse than what they were last season, but the lack of blown coverages and the return to assignment football was a nice change of pace.
Safety Jay Ward ended the game with seven tackles and an interception and B.J. Ojulari and Jaquelin Roy were dominant on the defensive line.
For many Tiger fans, it seemed like the storm that was the 2020 season would never end. Each weekend was like looking out of a window to constant rain and sadness. Here’s hoping that the 2021 season will provide us with more sunshine and better days.