Corey Thompson is an outside linebacker, and Devin White is practicing with the inside linebackers.
Arden Key is evolving into LSU’s stand-up defensive end/linebacker hybrid, and Anthony Jennings has left the team. Offensive linemen are in different spots, and defensive linemen are in different roles.
LSU’s first full week of spring practice was a busy one. We learned a few things from two news conferences with coach Les Miles, an hour of interviews with players and about 90 cumulative minutes of watching the four practices.
Here are the week’s top five storylines:
1. Down to two
Jennings’ departure, announced by the school Thursday, whittles the starting quarterback competition to two. Thing is, many around the program would tell you it has been a two-man battle even before Jennings left. Now, it’s official.
Purdue transfer Danny Etling is expected to challenge incumbent starter Brandon Harris. Etling has been practicing and working out with the team since he arrived this summer, and he’s eligible in the fall.
2. The 3-4
We all knew new DC Dave Aranda showcased a 3-4 defensive scheme at his other stops, but no one was completely certain it would be LSU’s base defense. Well, it is.
According to players, the Tigers are indeed switching to a three-down-linemen, four-linebacker set, but many of the outside linebackers could be a few of the Tigers’ athletic, rangy defensive ends in two-point stances.
3. Loading up on LBs
The Tigers need linebackers to play this 3-4 of theirs, and that’s an area of serious depth problems for the squad. The coaches knew it, and they have made the necessary adjustments, moving three players to linebacker: safety Corey Thompson, mid-year enrollee and former running back Devin White and ex-defensive end M.J. Patterson. The number of scholarship linebackers for the spring grew from five to eight.
4. Toby and Maea
Rising sophomores Toby Weathersby and Maea Teuhema are getting the first cracks at the starting tackle spots vacated by Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander.
Teuhema, LSU’s starting left guard last year, and K.J. Malone are rotating at left tackle. Weathersby, the Tigers’ sixth offensive lineman last year, and redshirt freshman George Brown Jr. are rotating at right tackle.
Several players will miss spring practice because of injuries, several of which were previously reported: DB Kevin Toliver (shoulder), DB John Battle, WR Travin Dural (hamstring) and OL Ethan Pocic (hip).
A few new ones were uncovered this week, including FB J.D. Moore (knee) and TE Dillon Gordon (knee). Coach Les Miles attributed the absences to injuries and academic issues.