Notebook: Starting ‘Buck’ linebacker job a “toss up” for LSU heading into season opener

By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor

LSU coach Ed Orgeron updated the status of several position battles and injuries to reporters before practice Thursday, the final time he’ll met with the media before the season opener against BYU on Saturday night.

Who starts in place of All-American Arden Key at the ‘Buck’ linebacker spot is a “toss-up” between redshirt freshman Ray Thornton and true freshman K’Lavon Chaisson, Orgeron said.

Andre Anthony, who was also in the running at the position, sustained an injury in practice this week and is unlikely to play against the Cougars, Orgeron said.

“We still don’t know who is going to start at the ‘B’ linebacker,” he said. “It’s going to be between K’Lavon and Ray Thornton. It’s a toss-up right now and I’ll make a decision before game time.”

The coach also named true freshman Saahdiq Charles his starting right guard. True freshman Ed Ingram, who battled Charles for the starting job, will also play, Orgeron said. Charles took first-team reps there during the media viewing portion of practice on Monday and Tuesday.

“They’ll share time at right guard,” the coach said.

Orgeron will wait until game time before deciding whether freshmen Jacob Phillips or Tyler Taylor will be the No. 3 inside linebacker behind Devin White and Donnie Alexander.

The staff wants to see how the rookies perform in goalline and short-yardage situations that’ll be the focus of Thursday’s practice before making the call.

“It’ll either be Jacob or Tyler, and that’s a game-time decision,” Orgeron replied, asked which freshmen linebacker would see the field first.

He continued on the two: “Tyler is a little more fluid; a little more athletic; a little more rangy. Jacob is a little more physical at the point of attack; uses his hands well. They’re both very good linebackers.”

SILENT SUSPENSIONS

Picking right up where he left off Wednesday, Orgeron expounded on his logic for declining to publicly announce any potential suspensions for week one or beyond.

“Here’s the deal: first of all, I want to handle everything in house, and I don’t want to give a competitive advantage out before the game,” Orgeron said.

He continued: “We all make mistakes. I think every one of us in here have made mistakes before, and we had people forgive us. That’s something that they have to learn the lesson of, and hopefully they don’t do it again. But we do have team rules, and if you break them, there will be discipline. I promise you that.”

The coach added that suspended players will not be permitted to travel with the team. He acknowledged that not announcing suspensions may lead to rampant speculation about whether a player who doesn’t happen to play is suspended, but said his only focus at this point is BYU.

“All I’m concerned with right now is beating BYU,” Orgeron said. “My mind won’t even go that far. But here’s the deal: I didn’t want to announce any suspensions because it would give BYU a competitive advantage.”

NOTES

– Orgeron cleared any doubt during his radio show Wednesday whether running back Derrius Guice against BYU.  Thursday he affirmed Guice “is close to 100 percent and practice very well yesterday. He should be fine.”

– Orgeron was asked if there was any plan to get backup quarterback Myles Brennan into the game: “We talked about that this morning. It’s not a plan to get Myles in the game. It’s a plan to get the second-string quarterback some reps if we possibly can. Now, there’s two scenarios that that can happen.”

– LSU coaches will hit the road Friday morning for some recruiting. It’s an NCAA evaluation period, meaning the coaches can watch prospects but cannot talk to them. They’ll return for practice and team dinner before getting back on the road to watch high school games at night.

– Orgeron will be down on the bayou tonight to see his sons Cody and Parker play for McNeese State at Nicholls State. Parker is a starting wide receiver for the Cowboys while Parker is the backup quarterback.

About James Moran 1357 Articles
James Moran was named Editor of Tiger Rag in August 2018. He previously served as the associate editor since 2014. He covers LSU football and baseball and is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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