It is beginning to look like spring, which can only mean one thing and that means spring football is back. Today, the LSU Tigers took the practice field for the first day of spring football and just like the LSU fans, the media was curious today about which new players would stick out and which familiar faces are primed for breakthrough seasons.
For LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly, the offseason is much more familiar territory after going through his first full season in Baton Rouge, but the process remains the same.
“We always put the blinders on regardless to what is going on and focus on what’s most important. What’s important is really important for this football team in year two. It’s just a different chapter that we are moving through in the development of the football program. I think that we just have tunnel vision and are just focusing in on what’s important right now.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly
When talking about the LSU Tigers and this being the first practice report of 2023, what better way than to start than with the quarterback position. Jayden Daniels comes back after having a tremendous season with the Tigers where he accounted for 3,798 total yards and 28 total touchdowns. After having a great end to the 2022 season in which he had productive outings against Georgia in the SEC Championship and Purdue in the Citrus Bowl, Garrett Nussmeier was also out there competing today even though he was not 100% as he is still recovering from corrective surgery. The good news is that Nussmeier will be at a full 100% ready to go soon.
Because of that, former Woodlawn High School quarterback and early enrollee Rickie Collins got a lot of reps in. Collins was repping the number ten jersey today and took advantage of the extra work.
“Let’s talk about Rickie. Certainly as a quarterback, you benefit greatly from coming in and learning the system. There is so much as a quarterback from just looking into the sideline and picking up the signals. It’s foreign to many. Some of the signaling takes a while and just getting that down in itself takes a long time. Being coached and hearing a different voice is equally as important as you transition into a new system. Coach Sloan is a great coach, but it’s a different voice.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Rickie Collins adjusting to his first practice at LSU
What was also noticeable today was the lack of depth at running back as only Noah Cain, Malachi Lane, and Trey Holly practiced today. With Kaleb Jackson already coming in as a late enrollee in the fall, Coach Kelly provided updates on John Emery, Josh Williams, and Armoni Goodwin.
“They are working through the injuries that they suffered. They are out there at practice. They have been great in terms of their rehab and certainly, Josh is the closest on being able to come back to do some more drill work in the spring. Armoni will not be back until camp. Certainly, Trey Holly is going to get a lot of work and he did today.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on running back situation
Kelly also added that Emery is currently away from the team as he continues to focus on his academics.
At wide receiver, freshmen Kyle Parker and Jalen Brown showed their talent out today along with some of the familiar faces at receiver. Five-star freshman Shelton Sampson Jr. will arrive in the fall while Alabama transfer Aaron Anderson is dealing with an injury. Coach Kelly did talk about the former Edna Karr Cougar as a player that could see the field a lot potentially at receiver and as a return man on special teams based on what he has shown in the past.
Star tight end Mason Taylor is out for the spring, but it gave opportunities for freshmen like Mac Markway and Jackson McGohan to prove themselves throughout spring as fellow freshman Ka’Morreun Pimpton will arrive in the fall.
On the offensive line, center Charles Turner has been ruled out for the spring, which gave Marlon Martinez the opportunity to get first team reps at the position. Kelly did mention that he wants Martinez to stay as the transfer portal will open up again in May.
“We want him to stay, but as you know, there’s another transfer portal. We can’t worry about those things. We are going to develop the guys that are on our roster. We are going to give them opportunities that we feel is right for our program. He’s done a really good job. He’s worked hard in the weight room. He’s reshaping his body and doing the things necessary for him to compete. He’s getting first team reps because Charles is out with an injury. We won’t know until the end of spring ball about his status. We hope he’s here to stay.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Marlon Martinez
In speaking of the offensive line, Will Campbell and Kimo Makane’ole got reps at left tackle and left guard respectively while Emery Jones stayed at right tackle and Miles Frazier and Garrett Dellinger both were at right guard. Even with some reinforcements coming in at the position, Kelly made it a priority to sure up depth on the offensive line.
“We are really thin on the offensive line. Now, we got guys coming that are out and I’m not here to say that we have an issue with the second group. We just have guys that it is their first time out there. We are going to sure that group up and we certainly have some talented players out there.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Offensive Line Depth
Defensively, Fitzgerald West was seen getting a lot of work over on the defensive line after originally coming in on the offensive line. Meanwhile, All-SEC defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo and West Virginia transfer Jordan Jefferson will sit out the rest of the spring. After tearing his ACL last season, Maason Smith returned to practice and did non-contact drills away from his position group. Dashawn Womack was also working with Smith as one of the non-contact players after recovering from shoulder surgery.
Also, up front, three Jack linebackers just stand out physically in Jaxon Howard, Texas transfer Ovie Oghoufo, and Oregon transfer Bradyn Swinson. All three players look the part of a starting Jack edge rusher so it will be interesting which of the three will stand out among the rest throughout the spring.
Notably, Harold Perkins’ jersey number is now changed to #4 after wearing #40 throughout his dominant freshman campaign. He and Oregon State transfer Omar Speights certainly stand out and unsurprisingly, are running with the 1s.
Finally, Coach Kelly stated how excited he was about the depth at cornerback with the likes of Denver Harris, Zy Alexander, JK Johnson, and Javien Toviano as new additions along with others that will be arriving in the fall.
In recruiting news, Trinity Christian Academy 2024 three-star LSU quarterback commit Colin Hurley was observing practice today and will be in Baton Rouge this week spending more time with the team.
LSU will finish the week before having a week off for spring break. The next LSU practice report will be on Tuesday, March 21st so make sure to get all your LSU news right here at Gridiron Football USA.
Watch today’s practice highlights here!
Watch Brian Kelly’s Post Spring Practice Press Conference Here: