Ed Orgeron officially opened fall practice for the LSU Tigers at his Thursday afternoon press conference. He discussed a short list of topics, mostly pertaining to players’ health and conditioning.
Dennis Johnson Moving to the Booth
Orgeron began by announcing defensive line coach Dennis “Meatball” Johnson will be spending 2019 coaching from the booth after injuring his knees playing basketball. LSU was granted a waiver to allow former analyst and former USC D-line coach Kenechi Udeze to coach on the field, as well as graduate assistant Christian LaCouture. Orgeron said he also plans to be very involved with the D-line.
Orgeron expressed excitement about seeing the offense, naming Joe Burrow, Myles Brennan and Peter Parrish. He complimented the running backs and wide receivers before diving into the tight ends. He praised Thaddeus Moss, who missed all of 2018 due to injury, and former wide receiver Stephen Sullivan. Orgeron later said Sullivan has been studying Jimmy Graham tape with Joe Brady, and said the position is a place LSU needs to get better.
Orgeron emphasized the need to get better at the line of scrimmage, calling it the focus of camp. He said the team hopes to eliminate pre-snap penalties and improve in pass protection and run blocking. Orgeron said he knows offensive line coach James Cregg is ready to do that.
Defense and Special Teams
Orgeron’s goals for the defense are similar to the offense — win up front. He said he hopes to see more sacks and tackles in the backfield, and he expects the team to change some things up to make that happen.
Cade York was name-dropped as a player Orgeron is excited to see on special teams. He also said he’s excited for the return game.
Tidbits from Q&A
-Breiden Fehoko is down to 298 pounds and fully healthy after missing the end of the 2018 season with injuries.
-Maurice Hampton broke a bone in his hand and is wearing a cast. He will participate in camp, but in limited fashion. Orgeron raved about his talent, singling out his tackling ability for praise.
-The first thing Orgeron will talk about with the team is “housekeeping” at the new Football Ops facilities. That’s some real dad energy right there.
-The main message after that will be “blocking out the noise” and focusing on practice.
-Orgeron said “if things go right” Ed Ingram could possibly return to the team. Ingram has been suspended indefinitely since he was arrested in August 2018 for aggravated sexual assault. His court date is set for Sept. 13.
-Badara Traore is expected to rotate in as a third tackle on both the right and left side of the O-line.
-Linebacker, defensive tackle, running back and kicker were named as big position battles in camp.
-Avery Atkins has been practicing punting and will give Zach Von Rosenberg a “run for his money.”
-Everyone but Donte Starks has reported to camp.
-Orgeron knows who No. 18 is and it will be announced later tonight. Let’s see who among the ATVS guessed right!