The 'Slinger' stacked his playbook against 'The Professor' in Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
Oh yes, in LSU's first scrimmage of preseason camp, head coach Ed Orgeron tried to make it feel as much like a real game as possible.
That meant a running 25-second play clock, live substitutions, referees calling penalties and no scripted plays.
Philosophies on how to run a scrimmage vary across college football, and it isn't uncommon to find a program that will turn a scrimmage into what is essentially a full day of team drills from daily practices, where both sides of the ball run predetermined plays that the coaches have decided they need to work on.
But Orgeron, who likes to mix in competition where he can, freed up offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to call plays against each other during Saturday's scrimmage.
It's something Orgeron said he learned while he was on Pete Carroll's staff at Southern Cal and helps create some good-old-fashioned fun between coaches who spend nearly every waking hour game-planning together.
"It was on today," Orgeron said Saturday. "It was game time at 6 o'clock in the morning in there, man. There were some game faces going. That's the way it is. They had a good time."
Both assistants entered the press box missing some important personnel.
Ensminger, a former LSU quarterback who earned the nickname 'Slinger,' didn't have his starting quarterback, Joe Burrow — who has been out since Friday due to a "minor camp injury," Orgeron said and should be back sometime next week — nor a collection of injured second-team linemen.
Aranda, LSU's $2.5 million-per-year scheme guru, had to call plays without starting outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, unanimous All-American safety Grant Delpit and cornerback Kristian Fulton, who are all dealing with similar minor injuries.
The circumstances resulted in a dominant day for the LSU defense, which Orgeron said recorded five sacks, two interceptions and forced a fumble.
Those aren't ideal numbers for a team that will be debuting its new spread offense with run-pass option schemes in three weeks in the season opener against Georgia Southern, but Orgeron said "we're not the same team without Joe (Burrow) in there."
The statistics Orgeron provided did indicate some explosiveness inside the re-tooled offense Ensminger constructed with first-year passing-game coordinator Joe Brady.
Backup quarterback Myles Brennan was 8-of-13 passing, Orgeron said, and sophomore wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase caught a 56-yard touchdown pass.
"You never want your starting quarterback to get hurt," Orgeron said. "I thought it was a perfect scenario if it was going to happen this week; give (Burrow) time to get better and come back next week, and to see the guys step up."
LSU, which had seven practices before its first scrimmage, will have to weed out some mental mistakes as well. The Tigers have two scrimmages remaining before the season opener.
Orgeron said there were times when the offense went over the 25-second play clock, which is "expected in the first game," and there were a couple of times when one side of the ball had 10 or 12 men on the field.
"It's a learning process," Orgeron said. "I think that next week we should be able to eliminate those mistakes."