Spring Football Notebook: Day One Practice Observations

Tyron Johnson. Photo courtesy LSUSports.net

By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor

A cool, sunny afternoon welcomed the start of LSU’s spring football practice. The Tigers took the field for the first time since a Texas Bowl victory over Texas Tech in December, and there were plenty of new faces — and more familiar ones — present.

It’s important to remember that in the spring and fall practices media get to see, all that’s really open for observation is individual periods. The team splits up into position groups and does very basic football drills. Reading into this and the reports that come out of it is, nine times out of 10, fruitless.

But there is some information to be gleaned. So, we’ll throw out all the wheat gathered, and see what separates from the chaff.

Here’s what I saw in today’s open session.

THE PROFESSOR OPENS CLASS

I spent most of my time watching and observing new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. I camped out near the linebackers and watched him work with Kendell Beckwith, Donnie Alexander, Michael Divinity, and Devin White, who made the move from running back to find the field sooner.

What stood out most about Aranda is his teaching style. I was probably 15 feet from him for five minutes, and I heard less than half of what he said. Compare that to the boisterous Ed Orgeron, whose thoughts I could practically hear from 50 yards away as he shouted encouragement and admonishment at his defensive linemen.

Aranda is thoughtful, calm, and organized. He is hands on, and he knows exactly what he wants. I don’t know what affect that will have on his players, but he really was putting on a class for his guys. If they’re paying attention, they’re sure to learn a thing or two.

QUARTERBACKS

Anthony Jennings was nowhere to be seen, as Brandon Harris, Danny Etling, and Justin McMillan were the only scholarship signal callers around. Ross Dellenger of The Advocate reported Jennings left practice early for a mid-term.

Let’s not wade into rough waters on QB talk. Harris is the guy, and nothing’s changed with him, other than he’s a year older and, for the first time since he’s been at LSU, the clear, undisputed starter to begin a camp. I’ll be interested to see how he handles the leadership aspect of it. Throwing the ball, he looked as good as ever. The talent isn’t in question.

As for Etling, there’s plenty to like. He’s bigger than Harris — probably by an inch and 10 to 15 pounds — with good feet. He throws a nice ball, though he was off the mark on a couple throws (could have been poor routes, too). McMillan is still a work in progress, but I like his potential.

RECEIVERS

No Travin Dural (injury), Trey Quinn (transfer), or John Diarse (ditto), but first-year coach Dameyune Craig has plenty of talent to work with. Malachi Dupre made three or four spectacular — I mean, absolutely spectacular — catches. He’s grown into the immense talent he brought with him to campus as a freshman. If LSU can just get him the ball consistently, he’ll be a star and a first round pick this year. He’s as good a receiver as I’ve seen since I’ve covered the Tigers. Maybe the best.

Tyron Johnson also looked really good. The Odell Beckham Jr. comparison is too easy — the New Orleans kid wearing No. 3 — but he looked like young OBJ to me today. He looks much more confident in year two than he did last season, when he was still feeling his way into things. DJ Chark is still really fast and looks like he’s bulked up. That’s quite a trio, even without Dural.

O-LINE

The line divided into right side and left side. From what I could tell, the 1s looked like this.

Miles told reporters after that Teuhema didn’t work at left tackle, but from what I could see, he and Malone were paired up working on left side run blocking drills, and Teuhema appeared to be farthest left. Either way, he’ll work there.

Clapp took over at center with Pocic out for the spring, and he may end up there if Pocic moves outside. Clapp is a stud. They’ll use him where they need him. The other spots are all up for grabs. Weathersby reminds me of Jerald Hawkins with his general frame and athleticism.

SECONDARY

Not much to say here. The first group that lined up was Tre White and Donte Jackson at the corner spots, and Jamal Adams with Rickey Jefferson (wearing No. 9, now) at safety. That’s a pretty good foursome. Saivion Smith was out there, and the best thing I can say about him is the same I’d say for White and Divinity — physically, I couldn’t tell they were freshmen.

VINES

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Cody Worsham

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  1. LSU Spring Football 2016: Day 1 Roundup – The Geaux Report

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