LSU practiced in pads Thursday for the first time this spring, and Ed Orgeron met with reporters afterword to share his thoughts on what he’s seen thus far.
The coach praised two young running backs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Tae Provens, as standouts from the third practice and continued to sign the praises of offensive lineman Damien Lewis.
Foster Moreau and Jonathan Giles caught touchdowns during a period devoted to red zone work, Orgeron said. That was an emphasis of Thursday’s practice, it seemed.
“Last spring we didn’t put in the red zone until maybe next week,” Orgeron said. “We want to have a better red zone package on offense, and I know we’re going to have one. We have a great plan. We have Jerry Sullivan and Steve Ensminger doing research on red zone routes and red zone offense to improve.”
Asked about those routes, Orgeron provided an early look at the where things stand in terms of a pecking order at wide receiver.
Ensminger has spoken repeatedly about their desire to deploy three-receiver sets, and Orgeron said that as of Thursday, the top three receivers would be, in no particular order, Jonathan Giles, Stephen Sullivan and Justin Jefferson.
“It’s not etched in stone,” Orgeron said.
Giles is a given and Sullivan is a returning contributor, but it was somewhat surprising to hear Jefferson included in the starting group. The younger brother of former quarterback Jordan Jefferson appeared in six games last season after signing late last summer.
Both Giles and Jefferson are also in the mix for kick and punt return duties, along with Edwards-Helaire. Provens could also work there eventually.
The coach did not give any type of pecking order when it came to LSU’s most notable position battle: quarterback.
Sophomore Myles Brennan, redshirt-freshman Lowell Narcisse and junior Justin McMillan are all splitting reps in practice as LSU looks for Danny Etling’s replacement. Orgeron offered no hints as to if one was outplaying the others to this point.
“All of them are about even right now in my opinion,” Orgeron said. “Nobody has stood out one way or the other.”
That’s not to say there was no news on the quarterback front. Orgeron did say that LSU is still open to the idea of adding a graduate transfer at the position this summer, though it’s hardly a certainty at this point.
“We’re going to see what happens this spring,” Orgeron said when asked about a transfer quarterback. “Going to discuss that after spring.”
ORGERON ON TOM BENSON
The coach began the press conference by sharing some thoughts on the passing of New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson:
“Very sad to hear that Mr. Benson passed away. Louisiana icon, great man, from the state of Louisiana, city of New Orleans. Had the opportunity to work for Mr. Benson. Very good man to know. He brought so much to Louisiana. He’s going to be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers at LSU go out to his family and the New Orleans Saints. Great man who brought so much to the state of Louisiana.”
Orgeron was on the New Orleans staff in 2008.
That didn’t last long.
Four-star defensive end Jaren Handy de-committed from LSU via a tweet on Thursday afternoon. He committed to the Tigers about two weeks ago at a Junior Day event on Feb. 27. Here’s his announcement tweet:
I really been thinking and praying about this Ik all this is sudden and unexpected I just feel like I rushed something??just PLEASE RESPECT MY DECISION!!!!!!! No interviews‼️ pic.twitter.com/rXMlXETLno
— Alm!ghty Turbo™️‼️ (@Jarenhandy2) March 15, 2018
The news brings LSU’s commitment total down to seven for the 2018 class. The group was previously ranked No. 3 in the country by 247Sports.