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Post-Spring Football Thoughts

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And now we wait for September 5

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 LSU Spring Game

I was on vacation over the weekend so I saw literally zero seconds of Saturday’s spring game. Had I not been on vacation I probably would have watched...probably zero seconds of the spring game.

To me spring games are whatever you make of them. Sometimes guys will show out and it translates to success come fall, (Derek Stingley Jr. intercepting Joe Burrow in the 2019 game) and sometimes the only highlights a guy has in his LSU career come in the spring game (Ronnie Feist is my go-to example).

Here’s a couple of thoughts I have now that spring ball has wrapped up.

  • It doesn’t appear the QB1 battle was resolved—in fact it might have gotten more complicated

“We didn’t clear up anything with the quarterback today, we probably made it even more difficult,” is how Brian Kelly put it afterward at his presser.

Myles Brennan didn’t take his name out of the transfer portal to be a backup; Jayden Daniels didn’t transfer in from Arizona State to ride the bench; and Garrett Nussmeier’s arm is way too talented to keep on the sideline.

I don’t think anybody—not even Kelly and Mike Denbrock—know at this exact moment who will be under center when the Tigers take on Florida State in the Superdome. The starting quarterback battle is going to last all the way through the fall.

  • I’m really impressed with John Emery

His numbers weren’t what impressed me, it’s that Emery played despite spraining his ankle earlier in spring practice.

“He wanted to go because he was like, ‘look, I’m gonna get banged up during the season. I want to know what it’s like not to play 100%, because I’m not going to be 100%,’ “ Kelly said. “Just kind of that mindset says a little about him. He wanted to get out there.”

To me that says a lot about Emery. It’d be easy for a senior to sit out of what’s essentially a glorified scrimmage, but Emery went out there anyway. After being ruled academically ineligible literally days before the 2021 season began I’m really hoping Emery gets a chance to live up to his five-star status coming out of high school.

  • Will Campbell might already be that dude

The early enrollee from Neville is taking reps as the starting left tackle and by all accounts he’s stabilized an LSU offensive line that’s in flux. Since enrolling in January Campbell’s already tacked on 17 pounds and now weighs 317; what’s more impressive is he’s taking reps against future pros like Maason Smith, BJ Ojulari, and Ali Gaye and he’s holding his own.

“Not a lot of schools can say they have four guys across the front that can be the difference in the game. I personally believe we have one of the top d-lines in the country and going against guys like them, it’ll get you prepared,” Campbell said.

The thought of starting a true freshman at left tackle of all places is scary but Campbell seems to be different. Not just different, but special. And if he develops into the guy everyone thinks he can be, he might be the in that Andrew Whitworth, La’el Collins tier of Tiger offensive tackles.

  • LSU’s receivers are talented but what’s the pecking order?

LSU will always have a ridiculous group of receivers from now until the universe collapses upon itself. This year’s no exception with LSU running about seven deep at receiver: Jack Bech, Brian Thomas Jr., Chris Hilton, Malik Nabers, Jaray Jenkins, Kyren Lacy, and oh yeah there’s that Kayshon Boutte guy who might be the best receiver in the country.

After Boutte went down for the rest of the 2021 season against Kentucky, LSU’s scoring plummeted. They scored 49 against Florida but after that scoring outputs were: 17, 14, 13, and LSU could only muster 27 against ULM.

We’ll never see a wide receiver unit as productive as the trio of Chase/Jefferson/Marshall but who on this 2022 team will rise above the rest and stick on the field? Let’s assume Boutte’s healthy come September, who will be his primary running mates? Is it Bech and Jenkins? Thomas and Nabers? Lacy and Hilton? I’m fascinated to see who emerges.

  • Is Greg Penn III the next great LSU linebacker?

Physically he already looks the part at 6’1” 237. Penn got a lot of run last season, playing in 10 games with one start and racked up 11 tackles. Saturday he was credited with six stops. LSU’s added a couple of linebackers via the transfer portal and has Harold Perkins arriving in the summer, but right now it looks like Mike Jones and Penn are your starters.

  • I’m still excited for the LSU defensive line

This time last year most of us were convinced LSU would have one of the better defensive lines in the country but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Andre Anthony and Ali Gaye were both lost for the year at different points, and Maason Smith missed three games with injury. The Tigers are losing Anthony, Neil Farrell Jr. and Glen Logan but bring back just about everyone else from last year’s group. I’m still high on the Tiger front four and it is my sincere hope they live up to the hype this time around.