For now, LSU football coach Les Miles has four of his five starting spots on the offensive line filled, and he said the Tigers’ two-man quarterback battle is developing into a “really good competition.”
The Tigers donned full pads and conducted their first scrimmage of spring practice Saturday from the indoor facility, a 100-play event closed to media but witnessed by a host of others on a crowded sideline.
Former LSU recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Frank Wilson and ex-defensive stars Kwon Alexander and Jalen Mills joined at least a dozen high school prospects watching the scrimmage. They got to see what Miles suggested was a growing competition between incumbent starter Brandon Harris and Purdue transfer Danny Etling.
“I think Brandon is probably the starter, and I think Danny is coming like heck,” Miles said in his post-practice news conference. “It’s really good competition.”
Miles named rising sophomore Toby Weathersby as a projected starter on an offensive line that lost two starters, right tackle Vadal Alexander and left tackle Jerald Hawkins, from the 2015 squad. Weathersby, Miles said, joins center Ethan Pocic, guard Will Clapp and potential left tackle Maea Teuhema, an 11-game starter at left guard last season.
The fifth starter will be determined by the competition at left tackle, which includes Teuhema, Chidi Okeke and K.J. Malone, Miles said. Garrett Brumfield and Josh Boutte are options at guard if Teuhema claims the left tackle gig.
Miles suggested that the staff likes Okeke but does not want to rush the redshirt freshman.
“It’s just who’s the best left tackle,” Miles said. “Chidi Okeke is a very good athlete, talented athlete. Certainly not a guy we want to give him a short time frame. We want him to develop over the spring. When he does that, he may be very, very good.”
Beckwith could return
Linebacker Kendell Beckwith, victim of a twisted knee during Thursday’s practice, could return at some point during spring practice, but it’s “nip and tuck, day to day,” Miles said.
Beckwith, the Tigers’ 250-pound starter at middle linebacker, injured the knee during a live contact drill during Thursday’s practice. He needed help to get off the field.
Asked if he’d return this spring, Miles said, “It’s going to be nip and tuck, day to day. Yeah, he’s going to return.”
O-linemen nursing injuries
Malone and Brumfield are nursing injuries, Miles confirmed.
Malone is suffering from an unspecified injury that he suffered off the field, the coach said, and Brumfield injured his ankle. Malone missed Thursday’s practice and was seen in a gold, non-contact jersey on Saturday.
Brumfield wore a boot on his right foot during Saturday’s drills.
Thompson wanted to move
Former safety Corey Thompson wanted to move to outside linebacker, Miles said.
Thompson is still suffering from an injury, but he has been working with the outside linebackers during practice. Miles suggested Thompson did not participate in the scrimmage as he nurses the injury.
Thompson played safety in what have been three injury-plagued years at LSU.
“He’s got speed, understands coverages, certainly big enough,” Miles said. “I would think he’d help us well there.”
Domond is gone
Offensive lineman Jevonte Domond, a junior-college transfer in 2014, has left the team after graduating, Miles said.
Domond, a reserve at left tackle last season, played in four games in his LSU career, including the final three games of 2015. He never started a game.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.