by Lonn Phillips Sullivan
The Tigers' 2021 support staff will mostly remain intact from last year, joined early in the process by some early additions & inner-staff switches:
Of course former title-winning OC and Legendary Tigers' QB Steve Ensminger joins the analysts, as does former title-winning D-Line Coach Bill Johnson, both offering decades of priceless experience for this new staff to learn from.
Support staffer Collin D'Angelo went from a recruiting assistant who dealt mostly with quarterbacks & wide receivers (Assistant Director of Player Personnel) to now becoming an offensive analyst on the staff, taking part in the day to day operations of Offensive Coordinator Jake Peetz & D.J Mangas right alongside Carter Sheridan & Steve Ensminger.
It will be invaluable for D'Angelo to watch how Steve Ensminger operates, especially when you're already a seasoned young veteran on the Coach Orgeron recruiting gridiron.
Many questions have come into LSU Odyssey's mailbox concerning Russ Callaway's future, his present role on Orgeron's staff and what his duties would entail.
I can report this...do not fear: Callaway is sealed on staff and will be playing much the same role he mastered so well last year, directing offensive traffic on the sideline next to Coach Orgeron, constantly appearing to be the only energized and dialed-in assistant & communicating with the QB and booth.
So, that's to say he'll be working as an offensive analyst, specifically working alongside the quarterbacks, now perhaps even more intimately with Mangas and Peetz than Ensminger this season than last, although don't overlook Callaway's previous tenure / partnership with Steve Ensminger inside the analysts' meeting room.
PEETZ, MANGAS & CALLAWAY
Callaway will be a major factor for LSU's offensive success, helping Peetz get up to speed on what worked, what didn't work and some of his ideas for the future from what he saw...some of his viewpoints of the players on roster.
From what I've heard, Offensive Coordinator Jake Peetz is already leaning on Callaway's first-hand experience and on-hand knowledge as a returning fixture of the staff.
Callaway has had offers from other schools for assistant positions, yet he hasn't had his head turned away from the Tigers' program; he was unfazed when he didn't get the OC or PGC jobs...he's attracted to the offensive juggernaut this unit are about to build.
As much as there will be 5 wide spread formations, plenty of shotgun RPO action, deep shots down the field, run and gun play action slants or screens, there will also be West Coast offense principles, a balanced running game, plays with more safety valves (such as available running backs or tight ends) & an aggressive mindset in the pace of play calling.
Yes...these boys want to up the tempo...and then, when a defense least expects it, they'll slow it down to a grinding halt...just like 2019 were able to do at will. Peetz, Mangas, Callaway, Ensminger, everyone on staff believes in tempo principles...it doesn't just mean fast, fast, fast...it's about controlling the pace of the game.
Peetz & Mangas want to use the all world playmaking of WR Kayshon Boutte, the grinding brutality and speedy motor of RB Ty Davis-Price equally to devastate opponents, as well as throwing in a huge dosage of RPO action.
The QB who runs the RPO best, may just be the quarterback selected as LSU's Week 1 starter @ The Rose Bowl vs UCLA.
Callaway is a big key in helping these quarterbacks grasp the system, especially the younger guys.
Remember, Russ is already well liked by Myles, T.J Finley and Max Johnson, all three having a great relationship with their unspoken "quarterbacks coach"; Then there's freshman QB wunderkind Garrett Nussmeier who's father was close buddies on the same Alabama staff as Callaway back in 2013.
"I've known him since I was a little kid," Nussmeier told T-Bob Hebert & Jordy Culotta on ESPN 104.5's Off The Bench, detailing Russ Callaway and the Nussmeiers' familial kinship.
He's close to every quarterback on roster....if there's anyone who can help bridge Jake Peetz's learning curve around these quarterbacks, it's Russ Callaway.
Not only that, we've heard Callaway has been helping Peetz school these QBs on their offense, to the point OC Peetzy is giving his quarterbacks "homework every night" (a detail not reported by us first but by Sonny Shipp), sending them home with complex assignments to test the mental dexterity and devotion of all four guys on roster.
While Alabama or Florida may be sitting back enjoying their offseason, this LSU team is building the establishment for something special here for a long time to come at the quarterback position...and it all begins right here, this past week and a half in that quarterbacks' meeting room.
Peetz and Mangas are getting to know these guys through their shared obsession of football...these two want to see which of the four quarterbacks want this job more than the other...who's willing to give more...who's ready to sacrifice....
Speaking of which.... we have some news on a quarterback who's sacrifice can't be questioned:
I'm hearing some developments concerning the injury Myles sustained against Missouri:
Brennan's tear has healed far more than it had previously, and he's been throwing (with some minor restrictions), lifting (minor restrictions)...
But can he deliver a high octane bomb to Kayshon Boutte, leading him into space 70 yards down the field?
That I cannot confirm just yet...and due to his injury, he shouldn't attempt a Jeff George special right now either...it's only February, Myles has plenty of time! Especially if he's recovering this rapidly already.
At first, his fate wasn't always as positive as it looks now: before, he could barely pick up the ball, let alone throw...now, he's feeling better than before, really vibing with Peetz & Mangas, seemingly "same old Myles" ready to start his junior year over again.
It was no surprise the injury affected his ability to throw for a while: the area in which Brennan sustained the abdominal tear extends from the tip of his hip all the way up to the bottom of his sternum...nasty...
Myles has been through unthinkable pain and how he performed after this injury (to the tune of 435 passing yards) we'll never know.
Brennan has the best minds watching him to closely monitor his progress and LSU Odyssey will keep you posted as we hope Myles can overcome that nasty injury.
TOMMY MOFFITT TIME
The team has been focusing on physical conditioning under the guidance of 21 year Strength & Conditioning badass Tommy Moffitt.
As this site has written many times, it's no coincidence Moffitt's arrival coincided with Nick Saban's and the rise of LSU into a multi-championship-winning program.... and that train hasn't stopped since, even with Saban directly on the tracks...
There's a reason LSU are putting out so many NFL stars...the off-season physical punishment can be so brutal that by the time the season comes around, the games are a piece of cake for the players, stamina-wise.
By the time many of these title-winners & SEC Champions ascended to the NFL, the off-season training made many former Tigers laugh when asked how it compared to Moffitt's grind:
"Not even close," Jacob Hester said on his show Hester & Hanny, testifying about the intensity of Moffitt's conditioning tests in comparison to his time in the NFL.
Just like Coach Orgeron proclaimed during an interview with T-Bob Hebert again on OTB, "we're gonna have the whole staff involved in the weight room," everyone was there while Kardell Thomas, Derrick Davis Jr, Maason Smith, Jaquelin Roy & Jacobian Guillory put on a demonstration of dynastic showmanship.
The sheer exhibition of strength from trenchmen Roy, Kardell Thomas, Maason Smith and Jacobian Guillory is special to behold.
Jacobian Guillory is looking to put his injury woes from 2020 behind him:
The freshman DT was poised to break out last year (this site projected 4.5 sacks). Instead, he was stuck watching on as his cohort Jaquelin Roy played for his friend throughout the campaign. Guillory suffered an ankle injury before the season and a few frustrating injuries (goal-line play vs Texas A&M to name one sequence in which he later featured, leaving re-injured).
Kardell Thomas was a former 5 star out of high school, receiving plenty of reps during the 2019 offseason protecting Joe Burrow for the title-winning squad as a solid rotation guy on the cusp of his freshman debut.
Then, a sad knee injury occurred on his first day of camp, knocking him out for the rest of the campaign, although he was able to dress and appear on the sidelines during the National Championship victory.
Throughout 2020, he rarely saw the field, only a handful of snaps...still, let's look at the facts here:
Kardell Thomas is an otherworldly talent, who...if unleashed, if unburdened by his knee injury, can be an undisputed, undeniably great right offensive guard opposite the dominant NFL presence of Ed Ingram.
Under the guidance & attrition of Tommy Moffitt's workout regimen, I believe 2021 is a year for 2020's wounded to rise again...a metaphor resembling Louisiana's own ability to withstand everything 2020 threw at 'em.
But to do that, LSU need to be in top physical condition...and the restrictions from Covid-19 protocols didn't allow any time or room for Orgeron's players to be in prime condition throughout 2020's disappointing 5-5 abyss.
Well, that's changed....
Coach O has tackled this issue head on, addressing it in the media, actively lifting alongside his own players in the weight room and making sure his staff are following suit.
Pretty soon Tommy will have his Tigers running gassers and ladders will come into the picture, including Tommy Moffitt's nasty conditioning drills which quickly (induce vomiting) / build character....and win championships.
LET'S GEAUX!!! #GEAUXTIGERS2021
LSU ODYSSEY LOVES YOU BABY!
by Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
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