With SEC Marching Forward With 2020 Season, LSU Football Preparing to Start Fall Practice
LSU coach Ed Orgeron spent much of Tuesday campaigning for why the 2020 season should continue to push forward. Whether it was during his weekly radio appearance on 104.5 ESPN's Off the Bench, Fox News or ESPN, Orgeron's message remained the same.
It's too early to call it quits on the season.
"There’s no plan B here at LSU. We’re going forward ahead," Orgeron said on Fox News. "Our players want to play. I do believe the SEC wants to play. I have to give it to our commissioner for waiting to get the most information and to make the correct decision for our football team; and I do believe he will make that."
With that line of thinking, let's get back to some football news. The Tigers are gearing up for the start of fall practice on Aug. 17 after two months of workouts and walkthrough practices.
Though there will be a five-day acclimation period, this is significant as at the end of the five days, the Tigers will be able to lace up their cleats and strap on their pads for a full contact practice for the first time.
“Beginning August 17 and until the opening game, schools are allowed 25 practices with a limit of 20 hours per week of practice time," the SEC's statement reads. "A five-day acclimatization period is required, with two days in helmets only, two days in shells and the fifth day in full pads."
Until that time, LSU is continuing to optimize its allowed walkthrough practice time and even though a ball is not permitted, the Tigers are using the time for installation purposes.
"We want to be situational masters so we're still installing first down blitzes, tomorrow will be third down blitzes and we have an emphasis for the day," Orgeron said on Off the Bench Tuesday. "Our guys are going through position drills, ongoing skill development. We're filming everything, we're grading everything just like it was a real practice.
"Saturday morning we had one of the best practices we've had during all of Football School. I walked off the field and felt like if it was Wednesday [before a game], we'd be prepared to play anybody in the country."
Those are strong statements for Orgeron to make with the season still six weeks away, something he said points to the mindset of the team the coaching staff has assembled this offseason. One of the positions LSU is trying to solidify up front is who will draw the start at center.
Recent weeks have pointed to Harvard transfer Liam Shanahan as the leading candidate, who has impressed Orgeron and the staff since arriving to campus. While it's impossible to grade Shanahan on walkthrough practices alone, especially with no ball, Orgeron said it's more about getting the protections down and making the pre-snap adjustments based on what the defense is showing.
"As far as getting his blitzes down, changing the spot, making the call, his footwork, his drills, everything we've seen has been fantastic," Orgeron said.
In regards to the weapons on offense, there are plenty of pieces that junior quarterback Myles Brennan will have to spread the ball around to. From Ja'Marr Chase to Terrace Marshall and Arik Gilbert, Orgeron is excited about the talent the Tigers return on offense.
For a team that's still trying to find its rhythm after not having a typical offseason to prepare, Orgeron joked about one way that the LSU offense will have success.
"Set, hut, throw the ball to Ja'Marr," Orgeron said. "Terrace Marshall looks good, I really like our young receivers, we're as athletic at tight end as we've ever been. Arik Gilbert's starting to come into his own, Racey McMath's looking good. Overall I think we're very talented on offense."
Orgeron also gave his thoughts on the Tigers additional two conference games in the altered, all-conference schedule. LSU will be playing at Vanderbilt for the second consecutive year and will play host to Missouri, the second time the two programs have squared off during the Orgeron era.
"It doesn't matter who we play, we'll be ready to play," Orgeron said. "Those are the teams we'll be playing, 10 SEC games will be challenging for our football team. On any given day, the Tigers have to have their hands up and be ready to play football."