By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
ORLANDO, Fla. — LSU can only sign 25 players for the 2018 recruiting cycle, making each spot in the class a coveted resource to be used carefully.
That being said, nobody is going to give Ed Orgeron grief for using one of those scholarships to Cole Tracy, a graduate transfer from the Division II ranks.
Not as long as Tracy boots the ball through the uprights, anyway.
LSU’s struggles in the kicking game reared their ugly head again Monday as the Tigers failed to convert on field goal tries of 22 and 37 yards in the first half of a 21-17 loss to Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl.
Connor Culp and Jack Gonsoulin missed one kick each and LSU finished the season 16-for-27 kicking field goals. To make matters worse, place kicking was far from LSU’s only special teams breakdown in the loss to the Fighting Irish.
Punt returner D.J. Chark cost LSU field position by fielding a bouncing punt inside his own 5-yard line and muffed two others — LSU luckily managed to get back on top of both. Punter Zach Von Rosenberg dropped a snap and another punt nearly got blocked.
“We just looked sloppy,” Orgeron said of his special teams unit. “Twice we had 10 men on the field.”
LSU is hoping to clean up its act in the game’s third phase next season by hiring a full-time special teams coordinator.
LSU hasn’t had one this season, instead choosing to divvy up special teams assignments among the other assistants on staff. Former New Orleans Saints special teams coordinator Greg McMahon has organized those efforts, but he can’t deal directly with players due to his support staff role.
Since the NCAA is increasing the number of full-time assistants to 10 later this month, Orgeron will likely hire a full-time special teams coordinator in the coming weeks. He’s said previously that it’ll be McMahon, though he added a qualifier to that statement when asked on Monday.
“He’d be highly considered,” Orgeron said. “That was the plan the whole time.”
MUM ON MATT
Orgeron once again declined to provide any insight on the future of LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Canada called plays in the Citrus Bowl loss to Notre Dame as he has all season amid rumors that he won’t return in 2018. No timetable for an impending split has been reported, and Orgeron didn’t give an inch when the subject came up Monday.
“This game was all about focusing on Notre Dame and that’s all it’s been, all it’s about right now,” the coach said when asked directly about Canada
After the game Canada was seen walking away from the team buses outside Camping World Stadium surrounded by family members. Given the reports, it seems Orgeron’s silence on the matter may in fact speak volumes.
NO ANNOUNCEMENT FROM GUICE
LSU running back Derrius Guice gave no hints as to whether or not he’ll declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Most expect the junior and projected first-round pick to declare before the deadline for underclassmen to do so comes later this month. Guice made no announcements and bristled at the idea that he’d started thinking about his future before the season concluded.
“Me and Coach O have to have a deep conversation about it and see where it goes,” Guice said.
“(I’ve got to) put my recruiting hat on,” Orgeron responded.
Earlier this week Orgeron praised Guice for playing in the bowl game while many other NFL-bound underclassmen have decided to sit out and prepare for the draft. Guice has claimed publicly to be seriously considering coming back for his senior season.