Fall camp is upon us.
It’s Ed Orgeron’s second year at the helm for LSU, and it appears to be a make-or-break season for Orgeron and Athletic Director Joe Alleva. Nationally, the Tigers enter with the lowest expectations for an LSU team since Nick Saban’s first year as head coach in 2000. Locally, however, the standard for 10-plus wins and a shot at the College Football Playoff still remain.
Excitement about Ohio State-transfer Joe Burrow at quarterback and a plethora of receivers to complement him has instilled optimism in the LSU faithful that the offense will finally reach its full potential heading into 2017.
But the talk of Burrow, a redshirt junior, and his fellow quarterbacks wasn’t the biggest news out of Orgeron’s first official press conference of the fall on Friday.
Starting guard Ed Ingram suspended indefinitely
Orgeron stated his vision of building a team in the mold of Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Hurricane teams of the 80s — the biggest and best offensive and defensive line with a great quarterback and speed around them.
Well, that thought has already taken a hit. Sophomore guard Ed Ingram has been suspended indefinitely for violating team policy said Orgeron. Ingram, who started 12 games and played in all 13 games at right guard as freshman, was penciled in at the spot to start the season.
Junior College-transfer Damien Lewis slides to replace Ingram on the right spot after competing with senior Garrett Brumfield for playing time at left guard. It seemed likely that the staff were at some point going to move Brumfield to center and put Lewis at left guard with Ingram staying put at right guard, which is something Orgeron mentioned at the Rotary Club meeting in Tiger Stadium on Wednesday.
Now, redshirt sophomore Lloyd Cushenberry is going to be the starting center after spending last season as a backup to Will Clapp.
Freshman Chasen Hines is going to make the move back to left guard from nose tackle according to Orgeron. Hines was a highly-ranked guard prospect in high school, but he made the decision before arriving on campus that he wanted to try his trade on defense first.
Saturday’s practice is going to be the first time LSU’s coaching staff, with the exception of safeties coach Bill Busch, will see Burrow throw the ball live. The current front-runner for the job is going to compete with redshirt junior Justin McMillan, sophomore Myles Brennan and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse.
“Any quarterback, here’s what he has to do: everything,” Orgeron said Friday. “Show it on a daily basis, leadership, work in the classroom, be able to run the offense, make the throws, do everything right a quarterback does, and really be consistent every day, stack good days together. And, obviously, all four of those guys will have a chance, and let’s see what happens.”
LSU has exactly 30 days until the season opener against an expected top-ten team in Miami in the Cowboys Kickoff Classic on Sunday Sept. 2. Orgeron hopes to name a starter before then, but he has said he will not be completely opposed to playing two quarterbacks if he has to.
“I will rely heavily on our staff and [offensive coordinator] Steve [Ensminger], but I have the ultimate decision,” said Orgeron on who will be the starter.
Players to watch in fall camp
Besides the obvious in the quarterbacks, there are numerous opportunities for a player to create a niche for himself.
One of the players is redshirt sophomore defensive end Glen Logan, a player Orgeron said almost transferred this time last year. With junior nose tackle Ed Alexander struggling with a knee injury, left end Breiden Fehoko moved over to that spot, opening a hole for Logan to step into.
“Thank God for his momma and our relationship,” said Oregon on Logan, who finished last season with 17 total tackles in two starts at end.
Other players mentioned by name were freshmen receivers Terrace Marshall and Jamar Chase; freshman running back Chris Curry; defensive linemen Dare Rosenthal (freshman), Dominic Livingston (freshman), and Tyler Shelvin (sophomore); sophomore inside linebackers Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen; cornerbacks Kelvin Joseph (freshman), Terrace Alexander (Grad. Transfer), Jontre Kirklin (sophomore), Kary Vincent (sophomore), and Kristian Fulton (junior).
In regards to Fulton, Orgeron said he will take “quality reps” with the first and second units until a decision on his NCAA-imposed suspension is made on Aug. 9.