It is officially game week for LSU football and Coach Ed Orgeron unveiled the depth chart for Saturday’s opening contest against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Tiger Stadium Saturday afternoon.
It’s funny, we’ve known for months that LSU would be replacing a ton from last year’s national title team between graduation, the NFL draft and players opting out of competing this season. But I’d be lying if I said reality didn’t come crashing down on me when I saw that there were only seven returning starters.
Now granted it’s not as if there’s no experience on this 2020 team. For instance, Ed Ingram’s not listed as a “returning starter” but Ingram played in 12 games and started three of them. And on the defensive side of the ball there’s plenty of returning production albeit not from “starters” like Damone Clark, Jay Ward and Mo Hampton Jr.
Here’s some other initial observations I have from Coach O’s week one depth chart:
- It’s definitely the Myles Brennan era at LSU. LSU didn’t go after any transfer quarterbacks and the freshmen QBs weren’t going to take some, if any, first-team reps from him. This is his team.
- Speaking of the freshmen QBs, TJ Finley is listed ahead of Max Johnson but as an “OR” designation. I’d guess this is an alphabetical thing, everything points to Johnson being QB 2 for LSU.
- Coach O is standing by having three “starting” running backs, Chris Curry, Ty Davis-Price and John Emery are all listed on the same tier. O has said the team will ride the hot hand when it comes to running back; the only way to see who distinguishes themselves will be when the real thing starts Saturday
- Shoutout to Kayshon Boutte for emerging as a starting wide receiver. Kid’s going to be special
- Ditto for Arik Gilbert who is LSU’s starting tight end. I really can’t wait to see him play football
- We really need to applaud Liam Shanahan for winning the starting center job. I thought Shanahan would just be a guy that would provide depth along the line, but he came in and took the job from Chasen Hines
- Though this is probably the best for Hines. O has said right guard is Hines’ natural position and wouldn’t you know, he’s the starting right guard
- I like LSU’s starting offensive line. It’s a question mark sure, but I think also has the potential to be good. Dare Rosenthal and Hines have started games before; Ingram’s probably the best linemen they have; Shanahan started for three years at Harvard and Deculus has been holding down the right tackle spot for the past two seasons
- The question will be what happens if/when LSU has to go to one of its backup offensive linemen? I count zero games played among the second unit.
- Defensively, the first four linemen are JUCO transfer Ali Gaye, Apu Ika, Glen Logan and Andre Anthony
- Neil Farrell appears to be the third string defensive tackle. Not too terribly surprising, as he just rejoined the team
- What is surprising is how much it appears redshirt freshman Joseph Evans will be relied on. Evans signed as a defensive linemen, played center over the offseason to give some depth and only just shifted back to the defensive line. I can’t tell if that’s an indictment on the other defensive tackles or a testament to how good Evans can be
- Speaking of defensive tackles, Coach O said true freshman Jacobian Guillory suffered a high ankle sprain and will be “ready to go” in “about two weeks.”
- O says freshman BJ Ojulari is “probably” the best pass rusher on the roster
- No real surprises among the linebacking corps: Micah Baskerville, Damone Clark, and Jabril Cox are your starters, with Ray Thornton, Josh White, and Devonta Lee serving as the second unit
- Cordale Flott is the starter at nickel so I’d imagine that means true freshman Elias Ricks is the starter on the outside
- Good to see Todd Harris listed on the depth chart. After tearing his ACL last September, Harris seems to be back in the fold
- Sophomores John Emery and Trey Palmer are listed as LSU’s kick returners
- Let’s give it up for Buford High School, who has produced LSU’s last three long snappers: Reid Ferguson, Blake Ferguson and now Quentin Skinner
Four days, y’all