LSU enters spring football with far fewer question marks than the team faced at this point last year, but there’s still plenty of interesting things to follow.
Here’s the five most interesting story lines for LSU’s 15 practices this spring.
1. The Brady Effect
Ed Orgeron has called Joe Brady a “game changer” for LSU, so it’ll be interesting to see how much LSU’s new passing game coordinator can help Steve Ensminger and Joe Burrow elevate the offense. He’s considered to be an expert in installing run-pass options, which is something Orgeron has been vocal about wanting in his offense since taking over the full-time job in 2016. LSU figured to devote serious time this spring to making that promise a reality.
2. Comeback Kid
K’Lavon Chaisson appeared to be on the verge of a massive season before tearing his ACL late in the season opener against Miami. LSU never quite filled the void left by the ultra-talented edge rusher. Chaisson’s health figures to be a major key in LSU taking the next step in 2019, and it would be a good sign if Chaisson is able to participate in spring practices in some capacity as he works his way back from knee surgery.
3. First Impressions
The unquestioned star attraction of LSU’s ballyhooed signing class is cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. LSU got a taste of what the decorated defensive back can do when the early enrollee practiced with the team for a week before the Tigers departed for the Fiesta Bowl. The reviews from coaches and teammates alike were rave, and Stingley has a chance to stake his claim to a starting cornerback spot this spring.
4. A Void to Fill
LSU didn’t just lose an All-American player when Butkus Award winner Devin White declared for the NFL Draft, it lost the heart and soul of its defense. White was like an extension of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda on the field in terms of his mental acuity. The competition to replace him in the lineup should be fierce between Patrick Queen, Damone Clark and Micah Baskerville, but LSU also needs to step up as the leader of the defense.
5. Leap Years
LSU got contributions from true freshmen like Ja’Marr Chase, Chasen Hines, Terrace Marshall and Kelvin Joseph at different points last season. Players generally take a leap between their rookie and sophomore years, so it’ll be interesting to see who is ready to step into a greater role for 2019. Chase and Marshall will compete for starting receiver jobs alongside established top dog Justin Jefferson. Hines, if healthy, can take over the full-time left guard job. Joseph will battle for playing time in a loaded secondary.