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2016 LSU Spring Game: What to Watch For

We never appreciate that last taste of Tiger football, and this has to sustain us for four more months.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: Looks like rather than picking teams, the game will feature ones on ones and twos on twos.

A little added intrigue for those curious about the depth chart at the moment.


It's well past a cliché to call a spring game a pointless exercise, but...well...if the shoe fits, right?

We all know what the real goal of this whole deal is, right? To avoid injury.

That, and hopefully create a fun environment for fans and visiting recruits -- of which there will be quite a few on hand. Arizona is taking the fun part to another level, but I'm not sure that would be as well-received here.

It's always nice if the passing game looks impressive, and given that Brandon Harris, Danny Etling and Justin McMillan will largely be throwing on a depleted secondary, that probably should happen. Although spring games are kind of a nice Rorschach test for pessimism when it comes to the passing game -- if the quarterbacks look good, eh it's just a spring game; if they don't, the season is DOOMED! DOOOOOMED!

Still, as fans it's our last taste of any LSU football-like substance for a while, so I suggest we try to enjoy it. And even if there won't be many strong conclusions to be drawn, here are a couple of things that will be worth watching on Saturday.

A Taste

What does Dave Aranda's defense look like? This will be the first sample -- and a small sample is all it is because by the man's own words only a small amount is actually installed. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if we don't even see much of the pressure packages he's outlined. To date, he's mostly just worked on basic alignments and coverages.

It will be curious to see how players like Arden Key and Tashawn Bower look in stand-up roles. Davon Godchaux has also worked on the nose in some sets, but other than that, I don't expect to come away with much of a feel for the final product, aside from maybe some of the basic zone looks.

Gym Class Heroes

I's a little sad that Ronnie Feist left without having a chance to lead the spring game in tackles for a third year in a row, right? That would have surely been some sort of record.

Still, be prepared, because there's going to be somebody, whether it's a defender with his hair on fire or a running back that hits a couple of big holes or a receiver who takes advantage of backup corners falling down that comes away with a much bigger reputation than he's earned.

The Richard Murphy/Ronnie Feist/DeSean Smith/D.J. Chark All-Stars WILL have another member. A couple of best-guess candidates include one of the younger receivers like Stephen Sullivan or Dee Anderson, a backup quarterback, reserve running back or one of the reserve front-seven guys hungry to make a name for himself. Watch out for guys like Darrel Williams or Lanard Fournette to have a day in the sun. Or maybe somebody like David Ducre, who has the speed to break some big plays on worn-out backups.

Short Deck

Another reason to suspect big performances from some lower-rung players is that there are going to be a lot of starters in this that are either out or could be (and maybe should be) limited. Ethan Pocic, Kevin Toliver, Travin Dural, Donte Jackson, DeSean Smith and J.D. Moore are all out for sure here, for one reason or another. And on top of that, players like Tre'davious White, Garrett Brumfield and Kendell Beckwith could all be limited with minor injuries.

Plus, there's the portion of the stadium that will be holding its breath with every Leonard Fournette carry as well.


One of the fun things about the spring game is that you do get a glimpse of depth players, and in this case, some freshmen early enrollees. Savion Smith, in particular, should get a lot of time given the absence of so many players in the secondary.

I'll also be eyeing Stephen Sullivan, who has been relatively impressive in the limited drills open to the media. He and Dee Anderson will have a steep hill to climb to contribute much this season, so here's a chance to impress. And of course, there's Devin White and Michael Divinity at linebacker.

Likewise, this will also be a first look at redshirt players like Derrick Dillon, Xavier Lewis and Chidi Okeke, who are complete unknowns at the moment.