Ed Orgeron addressed reporters during a 15-minute news conference after LSU's first spring practice.
He touched on a great many topics. Like, how the quarterback competition won't be resolved until preseason camp; how the Tigers have three offensive guards who can all start (Damien Lewis, Garrett Brumfield and Ed Ingram); how Saahdiq Charles and Austin Deculus, despite their absence this spring, are penciled in as potential starters at tackle; why junior college edge rusher Travez Moore isn't quite ready yet; who is competing to start next to Devin White; and why LSU's starting cornerback next to Greedy Williams might not be on campus yet.
Tremendous day. Guys were here early in meetings. Daylight savings time. Everybody put their clocks ahead. Everybody was here 10 minutes early. The preparation our coaches did going into this first practice was phenomenal. Execution today was ahead of where it is usually on the first day.
Proud of the offense. Run game looked solid. A lot of throws down field. Our receivers made some plays down field. Our quarterbacks were moving away making plays with their feet.
One of the guys who really showed up today was Damien Lewis, left guard. Couldn’t beat him on pass rush, looked tremendous on one-on-one blocking. I think he’s going to be a tremendous football player. The additions of Badara Traore and Cole Smith is going to add to the line.. Obviously, Ed Ingram and Garrett Brumfield are awesome out there. Adrian Magee started at right tackle. A guy coming along pretty good is Donavaughn Campbell. I was really pleased to see the offensive line play like they played today.
Jonathan Giles made some plays down the field so did (Justin) Jefferson.
At quarterback, Myles (Brennan) took first-team snaps, looked really good. Justin McMillan made some big plays down the field, extended plays. Lowell Narcisse looked the best he’s been. Ran the ball well and threw the ball well. It’s going to be an exciting battle to see all three of those guys compete.
At running back, Nick (Brossette) took most of the first-team reps, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Lanard Fournette made some good plays. And Tae Provens showed out. We’ve got some new players. Doesn’t take long to figure them out. Tae made some outstanding plays, and I thought he had a tremendous day.
Defensive line… Breiden Fehoko, Glen Logan and Rashard Lawrence had a good day. Speed off the edge was tremendous with Ray Thornton, K’Lavon Chaisson and Travez Moore, showed some quick-twitch. He’s wearing No. 49. He’s big, strong, but going to have to learn his defense out there.
Young man that showed up today: Micah Baskerville. Was in the backfield a bunch. Keying and diagnosing, ran through the gap and made some plays. Obviously, Devin (White), Tyler (Taylor) did good. Greedy (Williams) did really good (but) I don’t know how well (the other) corners did. We had some deep balls thrown on us. Need to see what happened. John Battle and Grant Delpit started at safety, and Jontre Kirklin and Kary Vincent were playing left corner.
I thought the addition of Bill Busch, you can see out there our guys are getting coached every snap. Practice punt team today, good to see Coach (Greg) McMahon running the special teams like he can. Very well organized.
I thought overall we were ahead for the first day. I liked what I saw out there.
When it comes to the quarterback situation, how much do you want to challenge these guys with tough situations?
Sure. Today was a high pressurized situation for all three of them. Some did better than others. You can tell the competition was on. You can tell when the guy makes a big play. Other guys wants to step up and do it.
We’re going to scrimmage as much as we possibly can this spring because we have to (full) lines (on each side of the ball). We’re healthy and can be as physical as we can. Obviously, scrimmages will be pressurized.
How much has Lowell Narcisse gotten hit?
No quarterbacks are going to get hit. None.
Any update on where Kristian Fulton is at?
No. Still the same.
Do you have a window?
What kind of chances does the junior college linemen, Damien Lewis and Badara Traore, have in playing?
We’re going to give them a chance to compete. Now, Saahdiq Charles (shoulder) is out right now and Austin (Deculus) (wrist) is out. Saahdiq is going to start at left tackle, and Austin is going to have a chance to start at right tackle. We’re going to find a chance for those guys to play. If one of those (JUCO) guys are going to beat them out, they’re going to start. It gives us a unit that we can play two deep and play fresh.
Badara Traore has gotten better since the first day here. Tremendous job with the Fourth Quarter (Program). He can bend. His conditioning level is better. Going to have a good spring.
You haven’t had this low of experience at running back since 1999. Why are you optimistic about the guys coming back?
Here’s what I think: I think we’re going to have a plan to do what they can do, but it’s going to force us to throw the football, force us to be more creative on offense. Maybe we give them the ball out of the backfield. Until we find a featured back, the offense will not be featured by our running back. We’re going to throw the football, and I think we’re going to do that a lot better (this season).
The experience for Myles (last season), does that prepare him for spring more?
You think it would, but today all three of those guys did some really good things. I thought Justin had a tremendous day and so did Lowell. It looks like it doesn’t bother them whether they’re with the first or second or third team. They’re all getting equal reps. There’s no first-team quarterback right now. They all have hope. I liked what I saw today out of Justin McMillan. He had a good day.
Timetable on naming a starting QB?
Probably be fall camp.
How much has Foster Moreau’s role in receiving increase because of the inexperience at receiver?
Steve (Emsinger) (was) the tight end coach. He did a great job of throwing the ball to the tight ends last year. There’s going to be some misdirection in this offense where the tight ends are going to catch the ball in the flat. There’s going to be some times where the tight end will go vertical. He can catch a hook route. We’re going to make sure we put the ball in our playmaker’s hands, and he’s going to be one.
You mentioned Damien Lewis at left guard. What’s that mean for returning LG Garrett Brumfield?
That means competition. Garrett is our starter right now, but we’re going to have to find a place for this boy to play somewhere. Maybe center, right guard. I know James (Cregg) is going to find the right mix. From what I saw today, he was one of the best players on the field today.
Can you give us an overview on the battle at center?
Yeah, Lloyd (Cushenberry) played first team. Did a good job. Cole Smith was on second team. Cole showed exactly what we saw on film, extremely quick, great hips, great feet coming off the football. He’s a real good center. He’s tough.
How’s Terrace Marshall looking and how will he be used?
He looked good today. He’s about 75-80 percent. We’re not going to put him in full contact until he’s ready. He’s going 7 on 7. I need to talk to Jerry (Sullivan). Jerry felt like he had a good day.
Will he be full strength by the end of spring?
Probably so. Going to keep him out of contact until he’s full.
How did Jonathan Giles look?
Looked great. Caught some big balls, made some big plays. He caught some balls on crossing routes, beat the safety for a deep post for a touchdown. Did everything we expect him to do.
Who’s going to step up next to Devin for that Mack inside linebacker position?
The battle is going to be between Tyler and Jacob. That’s the battle for first team. Patrick Queen is right behind Devin and so is Micah Baskerville. In all likelihood, Devin may be going (to the NFL) next year, but we also recruiting some great linebackers. We have a plan there. I’m pleased to see we’ve got five middle linebackers on scholarship that can play.
We’re talking about practice. Spring practice.
How talented can the D-line group be?
I’d expect it to be more active. Pete (Jenkins) is the best that ever was and did a tremendous job with the other guys. Christian Lacouture and Greg Gilmore, he got everything he could out of those guys. We’re more athletic right now and quicker. A guy that shows a lot of promise today was Tyler Shelvin. He’s still a little heavy, but he made some plays, doing better, in great shape.
Ed Alexander is not practicing right now. He may practice towards the end of spring. He’ll be starting at nose tackle and backed up by Tyler unless somebody beats him out. Glen Logan is extremely quick, playing nose tackle right now, but he’s probably going to play end. So you have a rotation there, keep these guys fresh. We didn’t rotate our guys last year because we didn’t have any depth. This year, we’ve got depth and have five (more) defensive tackles coming in.
Who’s got to step up to deal with the cornerback depth?
Jontre Kirklin, Kary Vincent… those guys, Mannie Netherly. We’re going to have to see. We have a graduate transfer in mind. We feel like we have our top candidate. More than likely, we’re going to sign one. We have to get him on an official visit, get to meet him and stuff and (he’ll) compete.
You could envision this graduate transfer cornerback starting for you?
I envision him playing and giving him a chance to start. Obviously we have Kelvin Joseph coming in and we’re going to give him a chance to start at cornerback also. When it comes down to the season, we’re going to be fine. Dave (Aranda) is going to find out what those guys can do best, might play different coverages with those guys. Not the same coverage we play with Greedy. Do what they do best and their skills set.
What does Bill Busch add to your staff?
Knowledge. He’s coaching the safeties. That gives time for Corey to only coach the corners. They’re splitting time coaching the nickel. Corey was coaching five positions. Can’t do it. Bill can be a coordinator, has been a coordinator. Knows the defense, gets along well with Corey. Guys love him. All the fundamental, he’s very a tuned to that.
How do you handle (injured players) Ed Paris and Andre Anthony this spring?
Andre Anthony is practicing and rotating with the 2s. Ed Paris is not practicing (in full) right now. When he comes, we’re going to give him a full shot to play at safety.
So many questions. Are you apprehensive or excited?
I’m more excited. You know what? The energy they brought today and execution out on that field. We’re going to have a good football team and I feel good about it.
Who are the leaders on this team?
We have leadership council. We have meetings. You guys will enjoy this. Last year I kind of let them where what they wanted at practice. This year, we have a certain standard (uniform) for practice. I’m going to let them where tights. There are 12 on (the leadership council). Six wanted to wear purple and six wanted to wear white. I made an executed decision to let them war either or. Goes to show you we have leadership and guys making decisions.
I think in their mind, they want to carry on the LSU tradition, what was passed off to them and pass it off to the younger guys. I think you’re going to see a better job of that this year.
Who are those leaders?
Devin White, Rashard Lawrence, Breiden Fehoko, Justin McMillan, Foster Moreau, Nick Brossette, (Garrett Brumfield), Greedy Williams, John Battle, Jonathan Giles.
What’s the place-kicking situation look like?
We’re going to let the guys kick and the real competition is going to be in fall camp, when we’re going to get (Cole Tracy) in.