Yesterday evening, the media had 30 minutes of availability watching the Tigers on a wet, damp day in Baton Rouge. The media got to see the defense play on the turf outside while the offense practiced behind closed doors in the indoor practice facility.
The defensive line continued to look strong today going through drills. Coach Kelly commented on how attentive Maason Smith has been as he is always sitting in the front of the room, never sleepy eyed, and never thinks he’s arrived. It shows how hungry the freshman All-SEC defensive lineman is right now to have an All-American type of season. Behind the dominant quartet of Smith, Jaquelin Roy, Ali Gaye, and BJ Ojulari, Desmond Little, Saivion Jones, Mekhi Wingo, and Jacobian Guillory rounded up the second group with Little and Jones being outside and Wingo and Guillory playing inside.
We saw a base 4-2-5 defense when the starters were out there with Mike Jones Jr. and Greg Penn III being the two starting linebackers when going to two linebackers. Penn was wearing an elbow pad in practice for the first time indicating that he did suffer a minor injury during the scrimmage on Saturday. Still, the Tigers will rotate five linebackers that will play a whole lot over the course of the season including West Weeks, Harold Perkins, and Micah Baskerville.
At nickel, Gregory Brooks continues to be the number one guy with Sage Ryan being the number two guy. At cornerback, Colby Richardson is continuing to impress the coaching staff with even Brian Kelly joking that he is finally getting his name right after calling him Colby Dickerson in his post practice press conferences. Right now, the two starting cornerbacks are Richardson and Jarrick Bernard-Converse. At safety, Major Burns and Jay Ward continue to get first team reps at safety. Also, today, Matthew Langlois got some second team reps at safety along with Joe Foucha. Behind Richardson and Converse is Mekhi Garner and Sevyn Banks.
Coach Kelly did give an update on special teams. He did say that Damian Ramos is currently out in front as the starting placekicker. He has not given Ramos the starting kicking job yet, but he has put himself in a position to take control of the job leading into game week next week. Jay Bramblett is also out in front to be the team’s starting punter as well. However, there is still a competitive battle on who will become the team’s kickoff specialist.
Keep in mind, we did not get the chance to see the offense practice today, but Coach Kelly did give a few updates on that side of the football.
With Coach Kelly hinting that a starter would be named soon at the quarterback position, many even expected that the starter would be announced after yesterday’s practice. However, Coach Kelly did not name a starter, but he also did say that he is closing in on making a decision and that it may come in the next couple of days. Whether it is Jayden Daniels or Garrett Nussmeier that is named the starter, it is clear that both will play a lot over the course of the year.
At wide receiver, Malik Nabers continues to get better everyday. Coach Kelly has praised not only his play, but also his attitude and his maturity. In this loaded receiver room, Nabers is certainly making his case to be wide receiver two besides Kayshon Boutte.
On the offensive line, Coach Kelly did announce that Garrett Dellinger will be the starting center. The rest of the offensive line excluding left tackle Will Campbell continues to be musical chairs. After experimenting with a different starting line combination in Saturday’s scrimmage, Coach Kelly went back to his original starting lineup today, which is Will Campbell, Tre’Mond Shorts, Garrett Dellinger, Miles Frazier, and Anthony Bradford from left to right.
This would be the last time Coach Kelly addresses the media before game week on Monday. Coach Kelly also commented that today was one of the team’s sharpest practices as a whole and that you can tell the team knows that they are about to play a football game.
We are officially coming down to the nitty gritty with kickoff being less than two weeks away. The next practice report scheduled will be on Saturday.
Check out the practice highlights from yesterday during the media’s 30 minutes of availability. If you haven’t done so already, make sure to subscribe and hit the bell to get notified on when we post every video!
Also, hear from Coach Kelly himself as he spoke to the media yesterday! If you haven’t done so already, make sure to subscribe and hit the bell to get notified on when we post every video!