As the Tigers look to bounce back after a sluggish 2020-21 season, the depth and experience of this roster will be on full display to LSU fans all season long while they look to silence all the doubters from a season ago.
Thursday morning Coach Ed Orgeron joined 105.3 WWL to talk with Kristian Garic, Bobby Hebert and Mike Detillier about the position battles taking place this summer and who he believes will be key contributors to the depth of this Tiger squad.
Defensively, the Tigers front four can hang with the best of the best any night of the week given the sheer force each play with. With LSU bringing in Daronte Jones as the new defensive coordinator, Orgeron praised the coaching style of Jones and what he brings to Death Valley.
“That’s one of the reasons why I hired Daronte Jones is to go to the 4-3 and obviously his expert is on the back end and mine is on the front end,” Orgeron said. “So we’re back there attacking with our defensive lineman and we have a bunch of guys we can rotate in.”
A season ago, the Tigers defensive struggles were more than evident and with a young team playing a rigorous SEC schedule, growing pains were simply going to happen. With a majority of this defensive unit returning, the chemistry and experience will be a huge factor in the success of this group.
With Andre Anthony, Neil Farrell, Ali Gaye and Glen Logan leading the charge, this defensive line is as powerful as they come in the country. Not to mention true-freshman stud Maason Smith stepping up and proving to the LSU staff he is more than capable of coming in as a freshman to give quality snaps.
The depth of this group has received high praise from Coach Orgeron as they continue getting summer ball under their belts.
“He (Maason Smith) has had an outstanding summer,” said Orgeron. “He’s made every stadium we’ve ran, what a leader he is. Another guy who’s gonna be one of our top signed freshmen is Bryce Langston. Very quick and strong. And then Saivion Jones. Put them all together with Andre Anthony and all those guys, with the inside guys coming back, we ought to be pretty strong.”
Offensively, the Tigers are still in the midst of one of the most intriguing position battles at quarterback. As the staff evaluates each and every move Myles Brennan and Max Johnson make, Coach O is sticking to his plan of waiting it out to make the best decision for this football team.
“We in the locker room, we know who the best guy is,” said Orgeron. “Everybody knows. It’s gonna work itself out and we’re going to let them play. The competition is gonna be fierce, it’s fierce every day. Both of those guys, along with Garrett (Nussmeier), are having great summers. I think it’s gonna work itself out. I think it’s gonna be obvious. Game week going into UCLA we’re gonna name our starter, but if we can do it before, we can. It’s all going to be a feel thing.”
Whoever Orgeron and his staff decide to go with Week 1 against UCLA, they will have a multitude of weapons to throw the ball to at the receiver position. From Kayshon Boutte to Koy Moore to even true freshmen Chris Hilton and Malik Neighbors, this group of wideouts is incredibly deep and will surely give defenses trouble all season long.
“Chris Hilton has had a great spring, a great summer,” said Orgeron. “Malik Neighbors, we offered him the last day and got him. You got Jack Bech. You got five young receivers to go with this receiving core. I want to go back to 2019, if we got to put five receivers in the game, or four receivers in the game to win the game, that’s what I want to do.”
With depth on both sides of the football and two athletically gifted quarterbacks looking to lead this team to an SEC title, this Tigers group is in good hands as they shake back after a down season a year ago. An experienced roster and revamped coaching staff in Death Valley, the time is now to put the country on notice and show what this team is made of.