Despite 55 combined points between the White and Purple teams, LSU’s spring game still didn’t answer the question everyone wanted to be answered in a close 28-27 finish.
With an offense that isn’t even halfway installed and injuries on the offensive line it was somewhat expected for the offense to struggle at times. However, players on both sides showed out while some disappointed.
Starting quarterback still in question
The Tigers quarterback spot was marred by inconsistent play throughout the spring, and it showed again Saturday.
Sophomore Myles Brennan was long thought to be the front runner to start, but he struggled behind a patchwork offensive line. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound, Brennan finished the game 11-of-23 for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Junior Justin McMillan and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse both threw for over 200 yards and made plays with their legs. Even though both racked up yardage on big plays neither quarterback completed 50 percent of their passes (McMillan 14-of-29, Narcisse 6-of-13).
“I think you’ve all seen [Saturday] what I’ve been telling you about the quarterbacks,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “Sometimes they’re doing well, sometimes they’re not.”
“I thought Justin McMillan had a good game. I thought he extended plays with his feet. When he was in he moved the football.”
Orgeron added once again that the starting quarterback position will not be decided until the fall in the team’s lead up to the opening game against Miami on Sunday Sept. 2, and the ability to be able to make plays with their feet will factor into who starts.
Offense mixes in more offensive sets
After years of an offense based around a power running game, LSU spent the majority the spring game in three-wide sets and even featured empty backfields.
It’s a stark contrast to the offense under previous coordinator Matt Canada that featured multiple shifts and motions.
14 different players recorded receptions in the game for 572 yards and three touchdowns. There were four passes of 30-plus yards, including a one-handed catch by sophomore Justin Jefferson that went 94-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
“We started off throwing short and intermediate routes, but we want to him them deep,” Orgeron said. “Especially when we get them in one-on-one coverage, and we can get great protection.”
“And we’ve got some quarterbacks that can scramble. We’ve got some guys that can extend plays with their feet, and they have strong arms that can throw the football downfield.”
Although the quarterbacks struggled with consistency, there were three players that stood out.
Offensively, Jefferson and sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire were both explosive and exciting throughout the game. Jefferson finished with 136 total yards and a touchdown on six touches, and Edwards-Helaire rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while adding 13 yards in the passing game.
“Jefferson can catch the ball,” Orgeron said. “He’s smooth, he runs routes well, and he has a great knack for getting yards after the catch. He’s a good player.”
Added Orgeron on Edwards-Helaire: “I think Clyde shows that right now he’s our most explosive back. Obviously, him and Nick [Brossette] are going to share reps, but when Clyde’s in there we moved the football. He can make plays.
He brings a spark to our offense when he’s in the game”
On defense, sophomore outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson appeared unblockable off of the edge. Chaisson is replacing Arden Key, who Chaisson started three games in place of last season.
“If we would’ve called sacks, he probably would’ve had five sacks,” Orgeron said. “He’s had a good spring. He was in Arden’s shadow, and he has matured. You could see him [Saturday] he was fired up. K’Lavon’s a great young man, but he turned it up. I thought he had a good night.”
Now that the spring game is over the Tigers will have off until summer walk throughs and fall practice, which begins in August. Maybe then Orgeron and his staff will find the answer to the question that has been puzzling LSU’s fans for the better part of 10 seasons.