Tigers were back on The Ponderosa on Saturday for their first spring practice of the Ed Orgeron Era. Beat coverage focused mostly on what you’d expect — new coaches, new recruits, injuries and roster reshuffling.
Per Ross Dellenger’s practice report in The Advocate:
Missing: Toby Weathersby was the only noticeable absence during practice. He had a minor offseason procedure, and Orgeron said after practice that he'd be out for spring. Jakori Savage, as you'll see below, replaced Weathersby at No. 1 RT.
In gold: Donavaughn Campbell, who underwent shoulder surgery in December, donned a gold jersey signaling limited contact. He did not participate in any full-team drills. FB J.D. Moore was also in gold. Orgeron said earlier this week Moore may miss spring. He underwent a procedure on his right wrist. He wore a cast on it Saturday. OG Will Clapp was dressed but did not have a helmet and did not participate in practice, as expected. He's recovering from shoulder surgery in January.
In some position moves, Devin Voorhies and Michael Divinity have swapped from the inside and outside spots. That seems like a natural fit, as Divinity is built more like an inside linebacker, while Voorhies, a converted safety, should have a similar skillset to Corey Thompson (another former safety) on the field-side outside spot.
Another note that is sure to get some attention is that the fullback position has been shifted from working with the other running backs to the tight ends, as the fullbacks will often align in an H-back position as opposed to the classic I-formation fullback. That seems in line with how Matt Canada’s offense worked at Pitt, and also contributed to their fullback George Aston scoring 10 total touchowns on runs and catches, such as on this H-sweep.
LSU’s top two fullbacks, J.D. Moore and Bry’Keithon Mouton, also happen to be former high school tight ends, which should also make for a natural transition.
Speaking of Canada, his presence on the practice field should fit in with Orgeron just fine.
Gonna have to learn to watch that hat though.
In his post-practice press conference, Orgeron seemed to enjoy Canada, and noted that his energy has extended to recruiting as well.
“I was really excited to see (offensive coordinator) Matt Canada out on the field for the first time,” Orgeron said. “I thought he did a tremendous job. I loved his intensity, and I loved his enthusiasm. He demands excellence out there. I thought our offensive staff did a tremendous job.”
Another illumination from the presser was the division of special teams duties, with analyst Greg McMahon “coaching the coaches,” so to speak: Tommie Robinson and Corey Raymond will coach punt team and punt return team, respectively, while Jeff Grimes will run the field goal team. Outside linebackers coach Dennis “Meatball” Johnson will coach the field-goal block team and kick-offs, while Mickey Joseph will run kickoff returns.
“We did it with Pete Carroll (at USC),” Orgeron said of splitting the special team duties among the assistant coaches. “We did it exactly like this, and we won two national championships. The advantage we have is that we have a great special teams analyst in Greg McMahon.
“Greg McMahon runs the coaches meeting, and he tells us what to do. It’s his system, and he can’t coach on the field and doesn’t coach in the meeting, but he implements everything we do. He’ll watch the film, analyze it, and tell the coaches what to do. I think it’s a great system for right now.”
Some other notes from Delly’s report regarding how some of the depth chart worked out:
No. 1 OL
LT K.J. Malone
LG Garrett Brumfield
C Lloyd Cushenberry
RG Maea Teuhema
RT Jakori Savage
No. 2 OL
LT Austin Deculus
LG Turner Simmers (walk-on)
C Michael Smith (walk-on)
RG Adrian Magee
RT Willie Allen
No. 1 D (minus CBs)
DE Frank Herron
NG Greg Gilmore
DE Christian LaCouture
B-OLB Sci Martin
F-OLB Corey Thompson
ILB Donnie Alexander
ILB Devin White
S Ed Paris
S John Battle
As for some of the new numbers/changes:
New jerseys:— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) March 11, 2017
LSU will be back on the practice field Tuesday.