Coach O says he’s shopping for a grad transfer DB

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron is perusing college football’s waiver wire — the transfer portal — once again.

Orgeron said in his Tuesday Zoom videoconference he has a scholarship available and he’s in the market for a graduate transfer defensive back to replace senior Kary Vincent Jr. who opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

“We’re currently researching a corner or nickel corner out there and is available we’ll take him and use him out there,” Orgeron said. “We’re a little short. We’re icing a couple of guys with hamstrings. Nothing major.”

Orgeron has been on a hot streak since he plucked a pair of 2018 graduate transfers that changed the direction of LSU’s program.

He had one-year only placekicker Cole Tracy from Division II Assumption College. Tracy set LSU single-season record in 2018 with an SEC-leading 29 field goals and led the SEC in scoring with 129 points, the second most No. 2 in LSU single-season history for scoring by a kicker and No. 3 overall. He hit 29-of-33 field goals and 42-of-42 extra points.

Orgeron had Ohio State graduate transfer quarterback Joe Burrow for 2018 and 2019. Burrow blew the doors off college football last season, setting 46 records (29 LSU, 12 SEC, 5 NCAA) for the 15-0 national championship Tigers.

He finished with a 25-3 record as a starter and as the No. 1 overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft in which the Tigers had 14 players selected and six others signed free agent contracts.

LSU was looking for an experienced linebacker and an offensive lineman.

Orgeron believes he’s struck gold with the signings of two-time All-American linebacker Jabril Cox of Division II powerhouse North Dakota State and four-year offensive line starter Liam Shanahan of Harvard. Both are projected starters at linebacker and center respectively.

“We identify needs and we list them on the board, this year was linebacker and offensive lineman,” Orgeron said. “We identify the need and go find the guys that are available, look at them on tape and recruit the heck out of them. I have to give credit to our recruiting department. (LSU Assistant Director of Player Personnel) Collin DeAngelo runs that department. (Orgeron’s special assistant) Derek Ponamsky gets the names for me. We’re really proactive in that department.”

Orgeron mentioned some offensive line position shuffling.

He said said freshman Joseph Evans has moved to right guard to back up junior Chasen Hines. He also noted that both redshirt freshmen Anthony Bradford and Kardell Thomas were not in the two-deep at that position, but certainly had the capabilities of working their way back into the team’s rotation.

Defensively, freshman end B.J. Ojulari continued to be a hot topic of Orgeron’s following his performance in Monday’s practice with “four or five” sacks while sophomore Jarell Cherry has moved from end to tackle.

“You’ll definitely see him on third down,” Orgeron said of Olujari. “He’s considered a starter in the rotation.”

Orgeron also singled out sophomore Cordale Flott, indicating he’ll start at either cornerback in the team’s base defense or in nickel position. He also had praise for the play of sophomore Jay Ward and freshmen Eli Ricks and Dwight McGlothern at cornerbacks.

“He’s the guy that’s showed up the most in camp,” Orgeron said of Flott.

Other highlights from Orgeron’s Zoom videoconference:

On practice plans with Hurricane Laura headed toward the Louisiana-Texas border

“If anything gets too dangerous for our football team, obviously we will not practice But it looks like we’ll be able to practice all week. This is a big teaching week for us. We’re still a way away (Sept. 26) from playing a game. Our guys are still learning. Our coaches are doing a tremendous job.”

On the physical transformation of projected starting QB Myles Brennan

“He’s matured, he’s different from when he showed up (in 2017). He was talented when he showed up. He’s gained his weight and is very confident. I think he played the role as the second-team quarterback very well. It was Joe’s team; everybody knew it and he just kind of stood in the background. Now he’s not in the background, he’s leading.

“Right now, Myles is our starting quarterback. No one’s beat him out, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. We haven’t had any scrimmages or preseason games. Things are looking good at quarterback. We’ve got to stay healthy with only three scholarship quarterbacks.”

On LSU’s sophomore running back trio of Chris Curry, Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery replacing departed first-round NFL Draft choice Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who combined for 1,867 yards of total offense and 17 touchdowns last season

“Clyde was special, but nobody knew that at this time last year. He had to prove himself and he got better and better as the games went on. These guys may not be the type of running back Clyde was because they’re not built like him. All three of those guys have a different skill set. Are they going to be like Clyde? Probably not. Can we do the same things? Yes. There’s some different things that they can do.”

On highly touted true freshman tight end Arik Gilbert

“Arik’s been the type of tight end we’ve been looking for to stretch the field,” Orgeron. We ran a route where he beat the ‘Mike’ (middle) linebacker and it was a touchdown. That’s a dagger to the heart of a defense. We can spread him out where he can play ‘X’ and ‘Z’. The thing I like about the tight end position was that we switched mindset where our tight ends are more receivers because they can stretch the field and they can block.”

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