LSU SPRING FOOTBALL DAY 1: A VISUAL & LITERARY FEAST
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by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
After analyzing all the footage, the info, the news, the quotes and chunks of info we've shared with LSU fans nonstop we had to share some of our thoughts from the 2021 Tigers' first Spring practice. (Click on those links if you haven't read the info so you can catch up on some major, awesome Tigers news).
Follow along on our LSU Magical Mystery Tour as we geaux through most position groups and focus on some key, overlooked, under-appreciated or extremely notable Tigers, coaches and other assorted oddities.
JOIN US! LET'S GEAUX
Maason is a leviathan...a library or church sprouting arms and legs before putting on a helmet, some pads and destroying a few cats...he is just that massive...and he's only a freshman, drawing envious looks from some of the upperclassmen, as well as dubious fear from others.
Coach O was loving Neil Farrell's violent hands against best pal Glen Logan in the drills today, with Maason's new number 0 off to the left of the image.
Coach O went full King Harrod on our D-Linemen out there, absolutely loving the madness and intensity.
Andre Carter....at LSU?
Meanwhile...Peetzy, LSU's new Offensive Coordinator / QBs Coach took control of his charges with the hungry 80s adventurism of a bookish Marty McFly.
The quarterbacks looked tense around each other, keenly aware of the inner competition and intensity about to unfold for a starting job which could affect the future of their lives...frankly Mr. Shankly, at least one or two quarterbacks will transfer no matter the decision, although Max Johnson won't be one of them.
Out there on the field today, Offensive Coordinator Jake Peetz seemed to guide his quarterbacks with an air of comfortable chill, as if he'd been LSU's offensive coordinator for 5 years already.
That's the thing that makes these new coaches so special already...there's a vibe of familiarity...like they've been here for so long.
Do you know why?
Because coaches such as Daronte Jones, Andre Carter, Jake Peetz, D.J Mangas and the extremely impressive Blake Baker were the exact guys this team...this program...these players needed......results in 2021 be damned...they're building something big... these guys get it.
Max looked chiseled, an Adonis ready to take his chances...well, today was his lucky day as Coach Ed Orgeron gave him the first reps of Spring ball...Max earned the honor after all when he led the Tigers to consecutive victories as a freshman during what may prove to be one of the darkest times in the University's history.
His win over #6 Florida on his debut saved the Orgeron regime's ass when they were most questioned.
Coach O's job was being questioned only 11 months after delivering the G.O.A.T team...and he needed a victory, no matter how unlikely it seemed. To accomplish this, just as this very author had felt weeks prior, Coach O came around and put his complete faith in Max Johnson with everything on the line and the freshman came good for the Cajun MacDaddy in a big way...
He deserves first reps...because he earned those reps, left as the last QB standing through 2020's fiery prism of hell......conquering all.
But is this still Myles' job as everyone kept drumming up over the last weeks?
Is Max being awarded these first reps as an honorary thing before Myles takes the rightful reins?
Not so fast...
We have a true quarterback battle on our hands.
As Coach Orgeron said yesterday:
"May the best man win!"
COACH ORGERON ON QBs: "Well I know this, Glen, there's one QB that's 2-0 on campus here & that's him. Hey man, I gotta give it to Myles, man, Myles played good, Myles played good enough to win & there's no question about that. TJ against South Carolina had a tremendous game, Garrett is very capable, so there's no favorite here...I just thought Max won the last 2 games...so keep the continuity & let him take the first snap. Myles & those guys have been alternating behind him but the competition is open & the best man is gonna win. I'm gonna tell ya now, during the 4th Quarter, Myles graded "elite" 3 or 4 times...so he's worked very hard, he has a great attitude, he's competitive, let's see what happens."
TJ Finley may be the biggest enigma on the LSU roster.
T.J Finley may be the biggest enigma on LSU's roster...from touchdown circus and 52 points out of the gate for his debut to turnover drama vs Auburn, Alabama and Texas A&M, Finley may be the most purely talented Tiger quarterback...the question has always been:
Can he put it all together?
If the sophomore wins the QB battle, we'll have quite a special young Tiger QB on our hands.
First look at GARRETT NUSSMEIER as an LSU Tiger!! And doesn't Jake Peetz look like a proud Uncle here?
Peetz looked interested in speaking with Finley a lot out there.
The team uncorked passes together, either in unison or waiting in lines, one talented slinger after another taking their spot and launching passes.
Finally...the smell of the pigskin...the scent of the watered grass, the sounds of life, energy and unity...
LSU's new staff and current roster couldn't wait for this practice...Coach O was "stoking the fires at 5:30 am" according to Orgeron, trying to stir up friendly competition within his illustrious, though largely unproven new assistants.
Myles throwing a pass
T.J throwing a pass to Sophomore TE Jack Mashburn
Dual reps with an array of personnel and staff on hand to watch it geaux down.
Let's play Where's Waldo....is that D.J Mangas back in the left corner in purple? Jake Peetz with his head turned on the right?
Wait a minute, that younger man in shorts on the right stole one of Steve Ensminger's funny hats!
Where's Jorge Munoz slithering here?
Jaray Jenkins was a smooth operator out there for the first day of Spring ball, determined to take the #1 or #2 WR spots.
WR Alex Adams (#12) makes a grab. Adams is yet another gifted receiver within Mickey Joseph's ranks, possessing more beef on the bone and athletic cut than last year.
Alex needs a monster Spring to get those quality reps...otherwise, there's simply too many talented freshmen coming in the Summer who can establish themselves (Bech, Smith, Hilton, Thomas Jr or Nabers).
Expect Alex Adams to pull out all the stops this Spring...he simply must.
Elsewhere, the linebackers busted some moves for the first time, attempting to respond to the worst season in LSU linebacking history.
In doing so, LBs Coach Blake Baker really impressed me a lot. He was intense, firm, committed and showing a ton of energy. The guy was flying around smashing through bags, dancing around, hopping to and fro...Baker appeared desperate to put on a helmet and pads right now.
Baker was definitely a bad ass Southern version of Ted Lasso with those awesome shades and that Texas accent to boot.
Blake Baker obviously listened to way too much "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit before today's practice.
Cam Lewis looking in his greatest shape ever....the strong safety poised to make a leap for the mostly vacant job.
But will Daronte favor a two free safety look?
Defensive Coordinator Daronte Jones works with the safeties. You can see Todd Harris center behind Daronte and Jay Ward up and to the right, clearly working out amongst the safeties...just as lsuodyssey.com reported within two weeks of Jones' hiring as well as in our early safeties preview piece, which includes a section on Ward.
Intriguing....then there was Corey Raymond working together with Stingley and the rest of the LSU cornerbacks.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
CHECKOUT OUR SPRING PRACTICE DAY 1 PART I PIECE HERE
SHOUTOUTS: LET'S GEAUX AD, KORT, DUCHESS, PANDEMICSAM, E11 JOSH, TONY, BIGCHOCOLATE, GEAUX, MICHAEL DINEEN, VE HERTZ, PEGGY, A.G, SUSAN, SARAH, BARBI, MARYYYYYYYYROOOOOOOSE, JB CAJUN COWBOI, JMAC, KPRO, GAB CITOU, DEV, 1971 JIM, DON CANNON, JEAUX.