The 2021 LSU Tigers moved from the practice field to Tiger Stadium Saturday afternoon for the first of its two scrimmages this fall camp, three weeks ahead of its season opener against UCLA.
“It was an outstanding day,” Ed Orgeron said. “There was a lot of hard work and preparation getting ready for today. I thought our coaches did a tremendous job of getting our guys ready.”
The focus of the scrimmage was first down, second down, and redzone situations and the defensive line was the first unit Orgeron praised, specifically Andre Anthony, Ali Gaye, Joe Evans, and Neil Farrell.
“I thought overall it was a great scrimmage, mostly dominated by the defense and the quickness of the defensive line,” Orgeron said. “We had Ali Gaye back. Andre Anthony had a good day, Joe Evans had a good day, Neil Farrell had a good day. Our guys ran around and played well.”
A good day by the defensive line usually means the offensive line wasn’t protecting well, and Orgeron elaborated on the unit’s struggles Saturday.
“We gotta make sure they understand what we’re teaching,” Orgeron said. “We’ve got a veteran offensive line so those guys should be able to protect. We got a lot of young guys that got thrown into the fire sometimes they did well, sometimes they didn’t. But there was way too much pressure on the quarterback. So we’re going to watch the film and fix it, and those things that hurt us today we’re going to work on all week next week and all week of camp.”
It wouldn’t be an LSU scrimmage if we as fans didn’t meticulously comb through the quarterback passing numbers. Per Orgeron, Max Johnson was 11-19 for 127 yards and a touchdown, while Garrett Nussmeier was 11-17 for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Orgeron had nothing but good things to say about Nussmeier’s growth since enrolling in January.
“His pocket presence, he’s settled down a little bit,” Orgeron said. “He’s not being careless with the ball. The guy’s a gunslinger, he can throw the ball down the field but obviously he knows now he’s right there at the position. No telling, he could be playing at any time and he’s spent this summer learning the offense.”
Injuries continue to plague the Tigers through camp. Both Derek Stingley and Eli Ricks weren’t available so LSU only had two scholarship corners to work. What’s concerning is these injuries are happening prior to the team actually tackling and Orgeron said he’s spoken to Beau Lowry, the director of sports medicine, about it.
“I think a lot of it is just the running, all the running,” Orgeron said. “Although they’ve not hit, they’re going full speed. They’re working hard. I think these are all just little camp injuries that are going to get healed. Some of these things, you can’t prevent,” “Some of them are football injuries. But yes, the little amount of hitting that we have done, it’s an unusually large amount of injuries.”
Orgeron also said that Derek Stingley will be out longer than he anticipated but its purely precautionary. Ricks, on the other hand, is expected to be available in “some capacity,” this week.
“We don’t want to bring (Stingley) out there when he’s not full speed,” Orgeron said. “It may take more than a week. But whatever it is, he’s going to be fine. We want to make sure when he comes back, that he doesn’t re-injure.”
When asked what has stood out the most through the first few weeks of camp, Orgeron noted how the culture in and around the program has flipped.
“Team chemistry. Team bonding, coaches bonding,” Orgeron said. “The atmosphere around here has been great. Great leadership, great communication. Guys come to work and there’s some enthusiasm in the office. We have some young coordinators that have never called games before, so they’re energetic they want to prove themselves. I think it’s a good mix among the staff.”
Moving forward, LSU will have a second and final scrimmage this Saturday (August 21) and then the team will have a simulated game the following Saturday (August 28).