Pick 6: DE Arden Key expects TDs in standup hybrid role in LSU’s new defense _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --LSU DE Arden Key (49) works in drills during LSU Spring Football practice Thursday.

Arden Key is ready for that first pick 6. With his new role in defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s defense, he’ll get the chance.

“D-linemen always dream of picking a ball off, pick 6,” Key said. “Now I’m going to be able to drop, able to get that pick.”

Key, a true freshman restricted from interviews last year, opened up Tuesday night about his new assignment in Aranda’s unit — a standup end and outside linebacker hybrid who will be, yes, dropping into pass coverage.

Key will pass rush more than anything, he said, but the Tigers’ new coordinator told him that he’ll cover plenty in this new variable 3-4 scheme.

“I love it,” said Key, an eight-game starter last season as a rookie. “Last year, I was rushing the passer a lot. Now I get to drop, get a couple of picks. You can really see my athleticism coming off the ball, but dropping and that type of thing, you’ll really be able to see it.”

First, Key must gain weight. He’s at 235 pounds, four pounds under his playing weight last fall, and not anywhere near where coaches want him. The staff wants him to play at 240-250 pounds next season.

He’s recently seen the school’s nutritionist to begin working to that goal. He admits to “not eating right” over the offseason.

Why does he need to add that much weight? He’s 6-foot-6, for starters, but, Key said, the extra weight should help in combat run blocks — the toughest area for him last season.

Key launched into football jargon when asked about run blockers.

“You might block down and he’d have a puller coming and you’d have to splatter him. You don’t really hear splatter in high school,” Key said. “You can’t use a lot of shoulder, not hands. It’s a lot of hand work.”

Run blocking is boring, though, right? He wants that pick.

“I got a vision,” the Georgia native said. “It’s going to come, going to come.”

Beckwith won’t ‘break’

Kendell Beckwith delivered a message to his LSU teammates Friday. It was six words long.

“I bend,” he said he told them, “but I don’t break.”

Beckwith injured his knee during a live contract drill at Thursday’s practice, and news of it leaked Friday morning — the first of which suggested that Beckwith’s injury was not minor.

The Advocate reported the injury was minor, and LSU confirmed the news later in the day — a sigh of relief for Tigers fans everywhere. Their 250-pound star middle linebacker is just fine.

Beckwith on Tuesday characterized his health as “85 percent” after twisting the knee, and he said he’d likely return to spring practice in two weeks after the Tigers take off for spring break.

What if there were a game this week?

“I’d be playing,” he said. “I don’t know why everybody was so nervous. … Every day I’m rehabbing it and trying to get my strength back.”

Brossette update

Former University High star and current LSU running back Nick Brossette said he’ll be full healthy by the time LSU begins summer workouts.

Brossette tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee against Ole Miss in November. He’ll be ready by “late May,” he said Tuesday.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.