By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Ed Orgeron began LSU’s bye week out on the recruiting trail.
The LSU coach spent Monday in Texas recruiting around the Houston area with the goal of evaluating prospects that could fit some of the holes in the current roster, he said Tuesday.
Orgeron provided a glimpse into what LSU is looking for in terms of specific 2018 needs as the early signing period is now just two months away.
“Line play obviously, as many linemen as we can get,” the coach said. “We think we’re going to lose two starting corners. We need corners. We need a great safety. We have some spots filled out already. We need a JC offensive lineman, maybe two. Those are some things that stand out to me right now: linemen, cornerbacks. We’re losing two outstanding running backs.”
The cornerbacks he’s referring to are presumably Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver, two juniors eligible for the NFL Draft. The running backs would be junior Derrius Guice and senior Darrel Williams.
LSU’s staff will be back out recruiting on Thursday and Friday, Orgeron said, except for coordinators Matt Canada and Dave Aranda, who stayed in Baton Rouge to begin scouting Alabama.
REST FOR THE WEARY
LSU will use the open date to rest up a handful of key players, Orgeron said. Starters Derrius Guice, Will Clapp and Toby Weathersby were all absent from the viewing portion of practice Tuesday.
“No question he’s going to get some rest,” Orgeron said, referring to Guice. “A lot of guys are going to get some rest. We had a nice practice today. We’re going to practice tomorrow in shells. It’s going to be a get-after-it day. It’s going to be a heavy day. Some guys will be rested.”
One guy who won’t be getting any time off: outside linebacker Arden Key.
Though Orgeron says Key has reached his ideal weight of 250 pounds, the coach wants his star edge rusher to continue working on his conditioning this week. He’s registered three sacks in LSU’s past two games.
“He rested for eight months,” Orgeron cracked. “He’s got to go.”
– Left tackle K.J. Malone remains “questionable” and “is still a ways away,” Orgeron said. He’s been out since the Florida game with a knee injury.
– Orgeron didn’t know yet if inside linebacker Donnie Alexander would be available for the Alabama game after not playing against Ole Miss. He said freshmen Tyler Taylor and Jacob Phillips played well in his absence, but the rookies need to get better at recognizing misdirection.
– Outside linebacker Michael Divinity “should be back with the team soon,” Orgeron said. He didn’t travel with the team to Ole Miss.
LSU will hold its second-annual Tiger Bowl on Thursday, Orgeron said. A bye-week tradition he borrowed from past coaching stops, the scrimmage features freshmen, reserves and walk-ons taking part in a live scrimmage while some of the veterans coach.
“This is huge,” Orgeron said. “Some of the older guys will be coaching them up. There was a lot of enthusiasm last year. A lot of guys want to show out. Guys like Jacob Phillips and Tyler Taylor are going to play. Young guys like Kary Vincent who’ve started some games. It’ll be a real test for all of them.”