by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
With so many talented Tigers on roster and so few spots available, we are witnessing a siege from every LSU player into the practice field of opportunity...knowing each and every new coach holds a pair of untainted eyes, fresh takes and improved energy which could see their trajectory skyrocket.
Most of this roster is made up of a large mix of Tigers from different eras: Myles, Andre, Glen, Neil, Jontre, Austin etc were all recruited and coached by Les Miles for a time, that's how far back their roots are; forecasted freshmen freaks such as Derrick Davis Jr, Sage Ryan, Deion Smith, Landon Jackson, Garrett Nussmeier, Zavier Carter or Maason Smith; then you have your young guns still around from 2019 like Stingley, Flott, Ward, Clark, Palmer....2020 freshmen prodigies Ricks, Finley, Mad Max or Kayshon Boutte...
So many different guys with separate backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, individual goals or needs...what's the common denominator here?
Immediately from the outset, Coach Orgeron's 2021 roster has valued togetherness, open communication and humanity more than pure football obsessions. The relationships took first precedence.
You're now seeing a group of young men led by their new (yet familiar) coaching staff who have established trust...they've continued the culture from LSU's 2019 Tigers as if there was never a pause in the action: it's palpable...it's fearless...it's exactly what this football team, this university and this community need right now:
LSU Tigers we can believe in....and this current group are starting to let their hair down on the practice field, with LSU Odyssey covering every step of the way. If you missed any coverage, check out the Writings tab at the top of our site to access all our past pieces, videos & more.
-We saw a rare sighting of LB/DE Phillip Webb working through drills with Coach Ed Orgeron and the defensive linemen, although he's still officially listed at linebacker....an area where his services are more required.
LSU fans are still yet to see Webb play in purple and gold, suffering a spell on the sidelines throughout his freshman year due to an injury.
I once believed Phillip Webb (pre-injury) could be the defensive force to replace the backfield chaos and versatile potential of Marcel Brooks; well, now is a great opportunity for Webb to create a role on the team for himself.
I still believe the Sugar Hill-native is one of LSU's most freakishly athletic front seven defenders and whether or not the red shirt freshman starts or not, I expect him to become a force, especially on pressure downs.
- Elsewhere, we saw another hybrid edge-rushing tweener geauxing to work, 6'5, 218 lb skyscraper Desmond Little, towering above Blake Baker as he pounded his way through the bags.
Little is a veteran 2019 National Championship member, a valuable asset within LSU's locker room.
While there are still many Tigers on roster from the 2019 G.O.A.T squad, there are also plenty who left, were kicked off the team or failed to ever evolve to that next level (Mo Hampton, Marcel Brooks, Justin Thomas, Travez Moore, T.K McLendon to name a few)...
Can Desmond Little's lengthy pace off the edge break the cycle and take his 2019 experience on to the field?
It'll be tough when competing against LSU's plethora of pass-rushing talents, but my guess is Jones, Carter and Baker have already designed a 3-4 set-up to utilize Little's QB stranglehold?
-Freshman WR Deion Smith was flying around catching passes left, right and center, impressing all who watched his practices on the 16th-18th.
On the 18th, he went off and lit up the practice field, accepting the marker laid down by his elder challengers Boutte and Moore.
Deion approached everything with a businesslike quality, keeping his freshman head down amongst the fire & brimstone surrounding Tigers' practices and proceeded to out-work some of his teammates.
His rock star mentality or obvious abilities aren't the only things sticking out about Smith: one must identify how thick Deion is for a freshman coming on campus as an early enrollee...graduating a semester early from high school so he could be at LSU...right now...fighting for a spot...Thanks to longtime trainer Shay Hodge (former Orgeron player & all-time Ole Miss receiver) Smith has arrived in scintillating shape, giving him every chance of success this spring.
-WR Koy Moore continues to grind away at the #2 wide out job, battling Jaray Jenkins, Trey Palmer, Jontre Kirklin, Alex Adams and now Deion Smith...though he's outpacing #1 WR Boutte himself:
Kayshon revealed his teammate and fellow 2020 freshman Koy Moore already has 6,400 catches this off-season.
With all the news about the Baton Rouge PD, the body cam footage to surface and potential lawsuits all swirling around the teenager, his recent rise on the team is a true testament to the young man's character.
Watch out....I believe Koy Moore easily has what it takes to either usurp Jenkins for the #2 role or fit in nicely as part of a devastating supersonic trio (Boutte, Moore, Jenkins).
-OG Kardell Thomas is yet another 2019 champion who found himself shoved to the outskirts of the roster, clinging on the brink of losing his career footing all due to a horrible knee injury during August practice.
Kardell had started his LSU career off hot and his injury cast a pall on August camp for a few days.
Dressing for the title game at the Superdome, Kardell was still apart of the action of the title victory; but heading into 2020, his injury hadn't fully recovered and Thomas largely saw the sidelines throughout 2020 except for the South Carolina game and a few other moments.
Now, he's had that year to recover and is looking in fine fettle heading into spring after successfully completing Tommy Moffitt's grueling 4th Quarter Program.
We saw him out on the practice field looking lean and mean, in far better shape than those of his right guard competitors.
Could this be Mr. Pancakes' moment?
- DT Jacobian Guillory is another promising 2020 freshman LSU Odyssey tipped for great things last fall, only for a debilitating ankle injury to knock him out of contention for much of the season, only appearing in one game.
Guillory witnessed his close friend Jaquelin Roy stake a claim along Coach Orgeron's defensive line....now in 2021, he'll look to emulate Roy's freshman rise.
On the 18th, Guillory looked robust, beefy, intolerant of anything in his path and sported a pair of biceps which were often confused for tree trunks.
Watch out for this guy, he's on a mission to reclaim 2020's lost season.
-DT Glen Logan bulldozed freshman sensation Maason Smith into the ground during practice, according to Brody Miller, much to Coach O's delight who said "welcome to LSU, big boy!"
THANK YOU TO HILLARY SCHEINUK! BEST PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE BUSINESS!
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
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