LSU Spring Practice Report #5: Joe Sloan Discusses Offensive Identity and Building on Recent Success

Newly appointed offensive coordinator Joe Sloan got the chance to speak to the media today after its viewing of practice to give updates on that unit has been improving to this point of spring practice, which will wrap up with the spring game next Saturday.

From the very beginning of spring football, LSU head coach Brian Kelly has stated that this is as close of a player led team since he has been here in Baton Rouge, and Sloan can’t agree more as he has been pleased with how the better veteran players have led the way during the offseason.

“We have some really good leadership from some of our older guys if you look at Will and Emery, but really, it is across the offensive line. Delly (Garrett Dellinger) and Miles (Miles Frazier) have been playing their best football. DJ (DJ Chester) has taken on the vocal piece at center, which has been very nice to see.”

“Then, on the perimeter, Kyren and Chris, with their familiarity of what we do, have led the way, especially when leading the tempo standpoint, but again, a lot of the different pieces that we have added and some of the younger guys have done a nice job and in the backfield, Josh Williams is such a pro in everything he does. His consistency and stability just bring some stability to our offense. That’s what we need. We need our older guys to play some of their best football.”

LSU OC Joe Sloan

With four of the five starters returning on the offensive line including two first round draft pick caliber players in Will Campbell and Emery Jones along with a deep, talented tight end room, Sloan wants to use some of that to their advantage, especially with a first year starting quarterback.

Besides the tight ends, there are some good weapons to throw to at the wide receiver position. Even though veterans like Kyren Lacy and Chris Hilton Jr. have stepped up to be the leaders of the room, the two transfers have also filed in nicely.

The Tigers will look to run the football a lot this year to take some of the pressure off, but despite a veteran front five returning, the center will be a new starter this year in DJ Chester. However, Sloan likes with what he has seen from the second year player to fill in the shoes of Charles Turner.

“Center is a hard job to do. Every play, you have to talk, you have to communicate, you have to get everyone on the same page, and then you have to snap the ball and block. Just how he is as a second year player has been able to go out and communicate effectively consistently and the physicality that he is able to play with. He has four returning starters around him and is a second year player, but his ability to take charge and communicate has been really good to see. He has a lot of good qualities that Coach Kelly built this program around and will be a great leader for this program for years to come.”

LSU OC Joe Sloan on DJ Chester

Chester will be working with a first year starting quarterback in Garrett Nussmeier. Taking over the reigns from a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback in Jayden Daniels, Nussmeier has often showed the leadership and has put in the work in order to continue the recent LSU talented legacy of quarterbacks that have come through Baton Rouge.

“Everything has been about the do your job mentality. Obviously, anybody that has watched Garrett play, he’s got unbelievable arm talent and can deliver the ball in a number of different ways quickly. His biggest thing has been playing within the structure of the offense and when to take a challenging throw and when not to. That’s been the big emphasis. When Garrett has tight feet, he makes really good decisions and so really, it is a technique thing, which is in his control. I have been really pleased in the spring with him taking over the leadership role. The relationships he built over time and the work he put in, guys respect it. It’s been good to watch. His vocal leadership has grown, but I think he has been playing within himself. We got a lot of work between now and August, but a lot of good things so far.”

LSU OC Joe Sloan on Garrett Nussmeier

Behind Nussmeier, there is a question on who is going to be taking snaps behind him as the backup, but the talent is there in the group for somebody to emerge.

“Telling Rickie this, we are just getting back to the fundamental side of things. When he is in rhythm, he can do some good things. He is just starting to manage the game and go with the football where the defense is telling us where to throw the football, delivering on time, etc. We are seeing a lot of growth from that standpoint and he is a passionate guy. That is something what we love about him and making sure we keep that passion for the guys that follow him. I have been excited about the last couple of days that he has had.”

“AJ coming in obviously played a lot of football. You can see when he is comfortable and he has been really good. He has thrown the ball on time and has a really good release. When you have new guys in the offense, it’s a lot. I got to know the assignments and when I do that, then, it can come out to who I want to be as a player. When he is doing that, he is really good on delivering the ball on time. That’s where he can grow into the offense.”

“Both of them have done some good things. We just have to be more consistent at the position. That’s going to be the biggest thing. Who can be the most consistent from top to bottom? Colin Hurley has the talent that we thought. When a player comes in, we figure out what kind of talent they have and we are excited where he is at. I think you have seen some improvements from an accuracy standpoint. The biggest thing when you are a freshman coming in, everything is going really fast. What has been really positive is that when things go really fast, he is able to see space and deliver the football. He has some natural things that you really like and he is a really good learner. He has attacked it in the offseason coming into the spring and excited about what kind of growth he can have going into the fall.”

“We got a ton of talent on the field and the play on the field will separate those guys.”

LSU OC Joe Sloan on the rest of the quarterback room

One of the biggest questions entering the offseason from a coaching standpoint is seeing how Joe Sloan and wide receiver coach Cortez Hankton will be working together as co-play callers, but Sloan is excited to work with Hankton and how the two will work together in order to keep the explosive LSU offense humming.

Mike Denbrock was the offensive coordinator last season and led the Tigers to one of the best offensive seasons in college football history. Now, Joe Sloan, Cortez Hankton, Brian Kelly and the entire offensive staff are going to make sure to keep the train rolling no matter how it may look.

“The nuts and bolts of what we do was set over the last couple of years when Coach Denbrock came in and when we put this offense into effect. There are four of us from that offensive staff that are still here in myself, Coach Hankton, Coach Davis, and Coach Wilson plus a lot of guys that have played in that offense the last two years. We want to keep the building blocks of who we are no matter who is talking to you at this podium. You got to build your offense around the personnel that you have. We are doing that. We are growing and just like we did two years ago to this past year in what we need to do. We sat down as an offensive staff and we are going to continue to do the same thing. It is what we need to do moving forward to win championships and be a championship level offense. The foundation has been laid and there is growth in making sure we attack people the best way so we can win championships.”

LSU OC Joe Sloan

The skill talent has always been there for LSU and now that the foundation has been built and proven, there is no denying that there could be plenty of more points and big plays in this offense moving forward in the fall.

On Thursday, the media will get the chance to speak with new defensive coordinator Blake Baker and how he is installing his defensive scheme to the players.

Check out the full photo gallery below!

For all of our past practice reports, you can check them out below!