Fans expecting to see a flawless offense in LSU’s spring game Saturday may be disappointed.
The Tigers are still in the developmental stage of installing coach Steve Ensminger’s new scheme, and the absence of a starting quarterback has coaches using two styles of play. The scheme is, at least partially, dictated on the play-caller, coach Ed Orgeron said, and LSU’s three-man quarterback competition is headed for an August conclusion.
Coaches have installed just “35 percent” of the system, Orgeron said after Saturday’s scrimmage, the 12th of 14 practices in spring, all culminating in next week’s spring game at Tiger Stadium. The game begins at 5 p.m. and is televised on the SEC Network.
“We don’t have the whole offense in. This thing is going to go throughout the summer, throughout camp,” the coach said. “We want to look good next Saturday. I want the quarterbacks to look good. We want to throw the ball. Want all that to happen. I believe some of that is going to happen, but we’re not there yet. I ask the fans to be patient. We’re not where we need to be, but we’re going to get there.”
LSU’s scrimmage Saturday produced one of the strongest outings from redshirt freshman quarterback Lowell Narcisse, Orgeron said. He went 7 for 10 for 143 yards. Sophomore Myles Brennan completed half of his 20 passes for 98 yards, and redshirt junior Justin McMillan was 5 for 16 for 62 yards.
Reporters must rely on Orgeron for scrimmage statistics. Scrimmages, much like the team portions of practice, are closed to media.
“Lowell stood out today, made a lot of good throws, good plays,” Orgeron said. “Had some scrambles and big passes. He’s improved every day.”
Narcisse is running more of a zone-read scheme as opposed to more of the pro-style, pocket-passing system with Brennan on the field, Orgeron suggested.
It appears the result of the starting quarterback competition will also determine the direction of LSU’s offense. Does it feel like that to Orgeron?
“Almost. A little bit,” he answered. “We have certain things we’re going to do with most quarterbacks. Certain plays, all three quarterbacks are running, but we have certain things that skill sets of quarterbacks demand we do it.
“We’re running the same plays,” he said. “Once we find out who our quarterback is going to be, we’re going to do what they can do. Lowell will do more quarterback runs. Myles will do more drop-back passes.”
The spring game structure will pit starters against one another, Orgeron said.
Jacob Phillips and Tyler Taylor aren’t only challengers in one of the most hotly competitive battles for a starting job on the LSU football team.
Marshall making progress
Freshman receiver Terrace Marshall continues his progress from a serious ankle injury he suffered in September.
The Parkway product and midyear enrollee made “six catches” during Thursday’s practice, but is still recovering from that injury. Orgeron estimated Marshall is about “85 percent” and said he’s not full speed yet.
“Looked like he’s getting healthy,” Orgeron said. “He made some one-handed catches, some wow catches. Maybe the MVP of the day Thursday.”
Receiving is not Thaddeus Moss’ problem.
Alexander to compete for starting spot
Terrence Alexander, the Stanford cornerback who will transfer to LSU and arrive this summer, will battle for the starting position at cornerback and the third cornerback spot, nickel.
“(He’ll) compete for that starting corner spot, compete for starting nickel,” Orgeron said. “We’re excited about him. He played in games. He has experience. He’s fast. Very smart young man. Motivated, mature. Going to give him a chance to start.”
Alexander, a John Curtis product who is originally from New Orleans, signed with the Tigers earlier this week. He’ll be eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer.
Orgeron tour dates announced
Orgeron and other members of the LSU football staff will make stops in New Orleans, Houston and Shreveport as part of what the school is calling a "Football Caravan."
The first stop is April 23 at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City before the stop May 2 in Houston (JW Marriott Galleria) and June 28 in New Orleans. The site in New Orleans has not been determined.
Former Tiger and LSU sidelined reporter Gordy Rush will moderate each event and be joined at each by athletic director Joe Alleva and Tiger Athletic Foundation president Rick Perry.
Catholic High running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 109 yards on 18 carries and scored five touchdowns during Saturday’s scrimmage, most of it against the second team, Orgeron said. … Junior college guard Damien Lewis saw some time with the first-string offense during Saturday’s scrimmage, Orgeron said. Lewis, who Orgeron has praised for much of spring, alternated with the guards. The Tigers return starters at both guards in Garrett Brumfield at left and Ed Ingram at right. Coach might “try” Brumfield at center, Orgeron said.
“Put 2-9 in,” a disgruntled Nick Saban said into his headsets.