Who’s In? Who’s Out?
Defensive backs Kylin Jackson and Matthew Langlois as well as running back Josh Williams were three players not in pads, only in a helmet and roaming the sidelines. Freshmen wide receiver Kyle Parker and defensive back Jeremiah Hughes were dressed; they did not participate in any of the drills, individual or team.
Defensive back Greg Brooks returned and went full speed at practice. The entire defensive line room was accounted for. Wide receivers Brian Thomas, Kyren Lacy and Malik Nabers were all active and went full speed on the first team after they took it easy earlier this week.
Observations on LSU’s Offense
LSU quarterbacks struggled today, but it had nothing to do with them as the defense stepped up on Thursday which we will get to later. Jayden Daniels made some nice throws into tight coverage multiple times, including a touchdown toss to wide receiver Malik Nabers in the endzone where Daniels threw the ball to an area where Nabers could dive and get the ball. True freshman Rickie Collins had some nice throws during practice. Garrett Nussmeier had a rough practice as he threw three-plus interceptions.
Running back Logan Diggs took most of the first team reps with Noah Cain, John Emery and others rotated in. All the running backs looked fluid in the inside-run segments, especially Diggs, Emery, Cain and Kaleb Jackson. This is an extremely deep group.
It was usual for LSU’s receiving corps as Nabers, Kyren Lacy, Hilton and tight end Mason Taylor all got first-team reps.
The freshmen wide receivers have all been impressive this fall camp. Baton Rouge native Shelton Sampson, Jr. has emerged as the fourth receiver in the lineup. Jalen Brown is another player that has taken the next step. Although Parker was not out on the field as much due to injury, he has been very impressive as well.
Minor Tweaks on Offensive Line
LSU head coach Brian Kelly said that some of the linemen will cross-train at the center position. The same thing happened last year when guard Garrett Dellinger played in last year’s game against Florida State at the position but he looked extremely shaky at times as the line, inexperienced at the time, lacked the chemistry needed to be a coherent group.
Fifth-year senior Charles Turner took over the position and has been the first-team center since, which has continued going into fall camp. Senior Marlon Martinez has been the second-team center for the most part, but true freshman D.J. Chester took some reps at the center position as well on Thursday.
Maryland transfer Mason Lunsford has gotten reps as the right guard on both the first and second teams.
“I think Mason Lunsford has made some good contributions and will provide some depth inside as well,” LSU offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock said.
The Defense Finally Pulls It Together As I Expected Them To
After several of my colleagues in the media were starting to signal the alarm about the defense’s struggles, I felt like the only one who thought that it wasn’t a big deal. The reason why I felt this way is because the team wasn’t in full pads and that usually benefits the receivers as the defense had to lower the intensity. After two days of full pads, it is safe to say that the defense is fine.
The defense dominated in the one-on-ones and the seven-on-seven portions of practice.
Freshman safety Jordan Alen and freshman linebacker Whit Weeks both picked off Nussmeier. Allen made a great play and read the screen pass to perfection as he picked off Nussmeirer in stride. Weeks picked off Nussmerier on a pass near the sidelines.
Chestnutt broke up two pass plays in a row, including breaking up a pass to tight end Mason Taylor which landed in Ryan’s hands. Chestnut also got the best over Hilton during the one-on-one segment of practice.
On the opposite side of Chestnutt, cornerback Zy Alexander continues to impress on the first team as he also broke up a pass to Hilton in a one-on-one drill.
Marshall transfer safety Andre Sam continues to impress as it looks like he has emerged as the favorite to take over the starting safety role by the time LSU will travel to Orlando to take on Florida State.
True freshman Ashton Stamps and redshirt freshman Laterrance Welch also continue to impress as both of them have gotten a lot of reps with the second team behind Alexander and Chestnutt. Stamps had broken up a pass to wide receiver Jalen Brown during the goal-line segment of practice.
Punters Jay Bramblett and Peyton Todd had another day of great punting. Both of their punts not only were 45-50 yards down the field but they had excellent hang time as well.
The players who were returning punts on Thursday were Aaron Anderson, Greg Clayton, Kyle Parker and Javen Nicholas. Anderson and Clayton both muffed one punt each.