New LSU defensive line coach Bill Johnson coached in his first practice Friday afternoon, arriving a day after news of his hiring broke.
The former long-time New Orleans Saints defensive line coach has essentially been hired as an analyst, an LSU official said, to fill in while injured coach Dennis Johnson recovers from serious knee injuries.
The arrangement doesn't have a contract, the official said, and Bill Johnson is able to coach on the field under a filed waiver that was approved by the NCAA due to the circumstances surrounding Dennis Johnson's injury.
The 64-year-old Johnson stepped in for LSU analyst Kenechi Udeze, who was also coaching the position group under a filed waiver that was passed by the NCAA.
The defensive line was not at full strength on Johnson's first day: starting defensive end Rashard Lawrence, potential starting nose tackle Siaki "Apu" Ika and junior defensive end Justin Thomas were all missing during Friday's practice.
Ika and Thomas have missed three straight practices, and Orgeron has said that Lawrence is being given days off in order to be cautious while he returns from his offseason knee surgery.
Those were the major defensive absences, along with true freshman linebacker Donte Starks, who has not arrived yet to preseason camp because of academic reasons, Orgeron said.
LSU's star defensive players safety Grant Delpit, cornerback Kristian Fulton and outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson all practiced on Friday. All three players had missed multiple days throughout camp with what Orgeron called "minor camp injuries."
LSU true freshman running back John Emery returned after missing Thursday's practice, and redshirt freshman running back Chris Curry missed his first practice of preseason camp.
The Tigers offense continued to practice with a thin offensive line.
Starting right guard Damien Lewis and starting left tackle Saahdiq Charles were missing, as was potential starting left guard Chasen Hines.
Senior offensive tackle Badara Traore was not at practice, nor was true freshman guard Kardell Thomas or true freshman tackle Thomas Perry.
Orgeron said Thomas, a true freshman and Baton Rouge native, suffered an injury during Wednesday's practice and it "may be serious."
The 6-foot-3, 329-pound Southern Lab graduate was once a five-star recruit and was expected to provide depth at a position that needed it.
"I don't know how serious it is," Orgeron said Wednesday. "We're gonna see. I'm sure he'll be out for a little while. So that's another injury to an offensive lineman. So we gotta find some guys that can play there."
Senior wide receiver Derrick Dillon has missed seven of the last eight practices.
Orgeron said Dillon is "a little bruised up" and "doesn't think" the 5-foot-11, 186-pound senior will play in Saturdays' scrimmage.
Dilllon missed spring football after having offseason hip surgery, and he caught 22 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns in 2018.
Senior wide receiver Dee Anderson has not yet practiced, either. Anderson is "suspended from all team activities" until he passes conditioning, Orgeron said.