By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
With three weeks standing between LSU and its season opener against BYU, two true freshmen are “considered starters” and two others took first-team reps in Saturday’s second preseason game, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said.
If the season began today, Grant Delpit and Kary Vincent Jr. would be LSU’s starters at free safety and nickelback, respectively. Delpit returned an interception for a touchdown in Saturday’s scrimmage.
That could of course change between now and Sept. 2. Delpit remains in a battle with senior Ed Paris, though Paris continues to be sidelined by a minor injury. Ditto for Vincent and Xavier Lewis at the nickel.
Still, it shows how high the coaching staff is on the pair of rookies just two weeks into training camp.
“(Delpit) and Kary Vincent are considered starters for us,” Orgeron said Saturday. “Those guys are going to play for us. They’re considered starters in our mind.”
Several other freshmen have been pushed into larger roles by various camp injuries.
K’Lavon Chaisson has been splitting first-team reps with Ray Thornton at the ‘Buck’ linebacker spot. Arden Key continues to be a non-contact participant in practice and Andre Anthony is dealing with an injury, Orgeron said. Sci Martin is taking second-team reps.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Edward Ingram started at right guard for the second consecutive scrimmage.
Tackle Austin Deculus also continues to see a lot of reps, though right tackle Toby Weathersby returned to action with the first team.
Center Will Clapp has continued to be held out and Lloyd Cushenberry continued to work in his place on the first team. Orgeron said that Clapp, Cushenberry and Ingram are all candidates to start at right guard.
“Two out of those three,” Orgeron said, referring to center and right guard.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada will have a bird’s eye view of the action once Sept. 2 rolls around while defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will once again orchestrate his defense from the sidelines.
Orgeron announced as much to reporters Saturday, though he maintained the placement of other coaches and graduate assistants in the press box versus on the sidelines remained a work in progress.
“Dave is going to be on the sideline,” the coach said. “Canada will be up (in the press box).”
Those plans were thrown for a bit of a loop during Saturday’s scrimmage. Orgeron shared that LSU’s headsets broke down, causing a drill of sorts as the staff adjusted on the fly.
Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger, who served as interim offensive coordinator last season, stepped forward once again and took on play-calling duties while Canada made his way down to the field.
“It’s good to have preseason games,” Orgeron said. “We had a malfunction in our headsets — a real one. The guys could not hear from the press box. Let Steve call the plays. Matt came down and we did fine. Didn’t blink an eye.”
What does he mean by a real one?
One possibility: former LSU coach Les Miles complained of headset malfunctions during LSU’s loss to Wisconsin in the 2016 season opener at Lambeau Field.
Danny Etling: 8-for-18, 114 yards, 2 INTs
Myles Brennan: 4-for-8, 107 yards, 1 TD
Darrel Williams: 16 carries, 76 yards, 2 TDs
Derrius Guice: 9 carries, 102 yards, 60-yard TD
Nick Brossette: 13 carries, 54 yards
D.J. Chark: 3 catches, 52 yards
Derrick Dillon: 2 catches, 52 yards
JaCoby Stevens: 2 catches, 37 yards
Mannie Netherly: 60-yard TD catch
Caleb Roddy: 2 catches, 5 yards
Russell Gage: 1 catch, 2 yards