After seeing the LSU Tigers throughout spring practice, it was time for the fans to get their first glimpse of the 2023 LSU Fighting Tigers football team. Despite all the questions regarding the spring game and what the game was going to look like all this spring, the defending SEC West Champions definitely put on a show for the crowd.
It was an offensive show for that matter as Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier looked extremely sharp. Both quarterbacks showed why LSU may have the best quarterback room in the country. After coming on in the second half of the season, Daniels was more aggressive and comfortable as a returning starter should show. He finished the spring game completing 10 of 11 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Nussmeier showed off his rocket arm by completing 5 of 8 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly was extremely impressed with what he saw from his two top quarterbacks.
“I thought the quarterback in Jayden Daniels was extremely efficient. Played very well. I thought Garrett Nussmeier was equally as efficient and at times doesn’t have the same protection that Jayden Daniels does. Given those circumstances, you can make the case that he was equally if not better in some instances. So pleased with the quarterbacks.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Quarterbacks
Another offensive skill player that had a big showing was Kyren Lacy. The 6’2, 213 pound receiver from Thibodaux, Louisiana made the biggest highlight of the entire spring game when he did his Odell Beckham Jr. impersonation catching a pass one handed over the middle and then breaking multiple tackles for a 70 yard touchdown. The former Ragin’ Cajun receiver ended the game as the leading receiver of the spring game with four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Lacy has looked great in the spring and is a candidate to have a breakout second season in Baton Rouge.
“The work that Kyren Lacy is doing is much more about a consistent approach in practice. I think we are starting to see how that translates to his performance. At times, he was trying to find himself relative to where he fit in on the team, but I think now he is comfortable in where he is in the rotation. His practice work ethic has been consistent and we can see it in terms of the way he is playing.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Kyren Lacy
It was not just Lacy that came up with big plays for the receivers. Brian Thomas Jr. was on the receiving end of a 51 yard bomb from Nussmeier and also had a seven yard touchdown catch. Landon Ibieta showed off his speed when he took a short completion and outraced Tigers defenders for a 70 yard touchdown from Nussmeier during the game. At the beginning of the spring game, LSU worked on red zone situations and Malik Nabers was able to score in the end zone too after catching a pass from Daniels.
“Obviously, the very first offensive possession with Kyren Lacy being very dynamic with the football in his hands adds to a mix of receivers that can be obviously very good for us in the SEC.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Wide Receivers
Freshman running back Trey Holly got his first action in Tiger Stadium and was very impressive coming out of the backfield as a receiver and even scored a touchdown as he was on the receiving end of Daniels’ second touchdown pass from 15 yards out.
It was a great offensive showing, which is what a lot of LSU fans wanted to see, and even though the defense gave up a lot of big plays, there was a lot to like from the other side of the football.
Star linebacker Harold Perkins was working a lot throughout the game on the inside and showed that he can be just as dangerous playing there as he was playing on the outside having a half sack in the spring game. His new counterpart Omar Speights showed that he is just not a thumper but he also has sideline to sideline speed tracking down ballcarriers. The Oregon State transfer finished with three tackles.
“Harold Perkins, Omar Speights were outstanding. Omar addition is really big for us. He made a great tackle in space against one of our running backs. That says a little about his versatility in and out of the box. Harold Perkins was really good. The plays that stands out to me is that we ran a counter and he was able to slip the second puller to make a tackle for loss play. That requires training and he has been really good in picking those things up.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on linebackers
As it was hyped up in the spring, the Jack position showed off its depth in flying colors. Early in the red zone portion of the spring game, Ovie Oghoufo made back to back incredible plays as he beat All-SEC left tackle Will Campbell for a sack and then the Texas transfer followed it up by making a touchdown saving tackle on the very next play. Bradyn Swinson, who comes in from Oregon, was active as he added a sack, and freshman Jaxon Howard impressed in his debut with four tackles and a sack.
“I thought there were some really positive things. Ovie Oghoufo is a really good addition, certainly. I think he probably had a sack on each side against our right and left tackle. I think all-in-all, the development of Perkins and the addition of Oghoufo and Speights have been really big for us. They were the holes that we were looking to fill with more mature players.””LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Ovie Oghoufo
The biggest highlight from the defense during the spring game came from freshman Whit Weeks, who intercepted fellow freshman Rickie Collins and returned it for a touchdown.
Although there were bright spots, Kelly admitted that there was still some work needed to be done on the defensive side of the football.
“I think our safety play needs to continue to get better at the second level. We missed some tackles, but all-in-all a good day for us today to evaluate and take a step forward.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on secondary play
There are still a lot of questions regarding the secondary as Zy Alexander, JK Johnson, and Denver Harris were rotating starting spots at cornerback, but the player that stood out the most from the group was Laterrance Welch, who passed every challenge when tested. The former Acadiana Wreckin’ Ram had two pass breakups and held his own against some of LSU’s top receivers.
The kicking game struggled as both kickers Damian Ramos and Nathan Dibert only combined to go 2 for 5 in field goal attempts although Ramos made the game tying kick in the end for the offense to tie the defense at 32.
“It’s clearly not a position where we’ve decided on who the starting kicker is. We have to keep an open mind, and we still have to keep them competing.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on kicking competition
Both LSU’s offense and defense showed flashes, but according to Kelly, there are a lot more things to work on before the team’s season opener against Florida State at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
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