LSU coach Ed Orgeron said LSU's defense had a "dominant day" during LSU's closed scrimmage on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
The defensive dominance included several turnovers and a 40-yard fumble return by senior defensive end Breiden Fehoko.
With starting quarterback Joe Burrow out with a "minor camp injury," along with many of the team's offensive linemen, the defense recorded five sacks, Orgeron said.
Orgeron also highlighted nose tackle Tyler Shelvin and outside linebacker Ray Thornton, who Orgeron said had three tackles
"I thought the defensive line did very well today,” Orgeron said. "There were a lot of guys out on the offensive line of scrimmage that were not playing. Especially on the second team, a couple guys are hurt. So there were guys who don't normally play on the second team."
Orgeron didn't name specific absences on the offensive line for the scrimmage, but there were five offensive linemen missing from practice at some point in the past week.
True freshmen center Charles Turner and guard Kardell Thomas were both out with minor camp injuries, Orgeron said, and Turner could return as soon as next week.
Thomas returned to practice wearing a gold noncontact jersey on Friday, which marked his third practice of the preseason. According to NCAA rules, he would have needed one more practice in just a helmet and shoulder pads before he'd be clear to practice in full pads.
Sophomore guard Chasen Hines missed two straight practices before returning on Friday, and Orgeron said he is still working back from the offseason knee surgery that kept him out of spring practice.
Hines was taking some snaps at second team center in Turner's absence, and senior Adrian Magee took first team reps at left guard.
Both Hines and Magee entered the preseason battling for the left guard spot, and Orgeron said Saturday that "we don't know who the left guard is going to be."
Saturday's scrimmage continued the battle for a starting position at inside linebacker. Returning starter Jacob Phillips has been competing for his starting job with junior Patrick Queen, who backed up former All-American Devin White last season, and sophomore Damone Clark.
Phillips and Queen are "even" right now, Orgeron said, but Clark led LSU with five tackles and a sack on Saturday. Orgeron did not say who played best during the scrimmage.
"I can't tell you that," Orgeron said, "because it's a tight battle.”
The defense missed three veteran starters on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, senior cornerback Kristian Fulton and junior safety Grant Delpit did not play. They did not practice this week because of "minor" injuries, Orgeron said.
Without Fulton and Delpit in the secondary, LSU tested some other players during the scrimmage.
Junior free safety Todd Harris and junior JaCoby Stevens, who will play 'Quarters' safety this season, improved, Orgeron said. True freshman defensive back Maurice Hampton "made some plays," Orgeron said, and true freshman safety Marcel Brooks, whom coaches have said can be used a lot like Delpit, performed well when LSU used him on blitzes.
True freshman cornerback Derek Stingley, who will start this fall, intercepted two passes.
Cade York is 'more polished'
True freshman Cade York converted a 51-yard field goal during LSU’s scrimmage, Orgeron said.
York, who replaces kicker Cole Tracy this season, went 8-for-10 on his field goal attempts. He has impressed Orgeron so far in camp.
"I'm very pleased to see Cade York kick the ball the way he does," Orgeron said. "That was a question mark."
Comparing York and Tracy, who hit 87.9 percent (29-for-33) of his field goals last season, Orgeron said York has more range and a stronger leg. York converted a 59-yard field goal in a high school all-star game last fall.
"Cade is a more polished kicker at a younger age than Cole," Orgeron said. "But obviously he has to prove it in front of the crowd."
Advocate sports reporter Brooks Kubena contributed to this report.