Get to know the new faces, key storylines before annual LSU Spring Game _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU junior wide receiver D.J. Chark (82) during practice, Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at LSU's Charles McClendon Practice Facility in Baton Rouge, La.


Dave Aranda, defensive coordinator

  • New because … He’s been on the job just three months. LSU swiped him from Wisconsin in January to replace Kevin Steele, who bolted for Auburn after last season.
  • Expect … A very different look from LSU’s front seven on defense. Aranda spent much of the spring installing only a small part of his new 3-4 defense. The Mack (MLB), Rover (WLB), Buck (DE/OLB), F (SLB) — you’ll see them all Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
  • New because … He’s just a freshman. The mid-year enrollee arrived in Baton Rouge in January as a highly touted prospect out of Florida.
  • Expect … Some serious playing time coming his way Saturday. Coach Les Miles suggested last week that Smith worked against some of the Tigers’ starting receivers with LSU’s projected starting cornerbacks all out. Miles said Smith held his own with the veterans.
  • New because … Just like Smith, he’s a mid-year enrollee who’s on Month No. 4 in Baton Rouge. White is a North Webster product and former four-star prospect.
  • Expect … Significant action for White on Saturday — and potentially this fall. LSU has depth issues at linebacker, and White led the team in tackles in a scrimmage this spring. He’s a big, fast kid who coaches say has a natural instinct at linebacker.

FIRST DOWN: Quarterback lead

Brandon Harris appears to have a comfy lead in the QB race. (Travis Spradling)

SECOND DOWN: Linebacker rotation

The Mack. The Rover. The Buck. The F. We know the names of LSU’s new linebacker positions. But we don’t know the pecking order of the LBs. For instance, we know Kendell Beckwith is the starting Mack (MLB), but who’s his backup at that spot? And who’s playing Rover (the other inside linebacker)? Guys like Tashawn Bower and Corey Thompson are F-LBs, but who’s the top guy there and who’s the immediate backup to Arden Key at Buck?

D.J. Chark, far left, is expected to have a big role in the spring game. (Bill Feig)

LSU receiver Travin Dural has started running routes as he recovers from hamstring surgery, but he’s not expected to participate in the spring game. That opens the door for reserve receivers like Tyron Johnson, D.J. Chark, Jazz Ferguson and mid-year enrollees Dee Anderson and Stephen Sullivan, two tall talents who have impressed players and coaches this spring. Don’t forget about TE Colin Jeter either.

FOURTH DOWN: D-line changes

Don’t expect LSU’s new 3-4 defensive front to only include three defensive linemen at one time. Sometimes, it’ll include five defensive linemen with two of them (Arden Key and Tashawn Bower, for instance) in stand-up roles on the edge. Just listen to Aranda about that. “Both (Bower) and Arden Key off the edge is formidable,” Aranda said two weeks ago about the pair of long, athletic talents.