There's a little bit more of a pep in the step around the football ops facility as players and coaches alike prepare for the first day of spring practice. The Tigers will kick off their month long spring ball schedule on Tuesday and conclude with the spring game on April 17.
LSU has been going through walkthroughs for nearly two weeks and the players can only show so much. That's why there will be no easing the players in to the rigorous practices and goals that coach Ed Orgeron and the staff have in place.
"Toughness, physical mindset and I want our guys to get in great condition," Orgeron said on Off the Bench. "The best seasons are when you're in the best condition and that's my goal. To get every football player in the best physical condition they can be in to start the season.
"It's time to go full speed, we got helmets on but there will be no contact. It makes the linemen use their hands better, have better discipline. We have the same practice we have in pads, just no contact."
There are many positions the coaching staff is keeping a close eye on but a few that stick out to Orgeron is the depth behind the starting offensive linemen, safety and tight end positions. In particular, the offensive line depth is not very experienced as the Tigers welcome in freshman Garrett Dellinger to join a depth chart that hasn't been on the field much.
Orgeron said one of the priorities is getting the depth of the o-line up to the same level as the starters so the coaching staff can feel comfortable playing them come 2021.
"I think those young guys are going to be great players, there's a separation," Orgeron said. "They'll get more reps, there'll be more attention to that group this year so they can develop. They have to come along."
One of the other weaker positions in terms of depth is that tight end spot as the Tigers will welcome Jalen Shead and Jack Bech to a group that includes Kole Taylor and Nick Storz. Orgeron said both Shead and Bech will compete for playing time when they eventually get to campus this summer.
Bech is an interesting case in particular as he has been recruited to play wide receiver but the program sees him as more of a fit at tight end.
"Those guys are gonna have to play along with Kole," Orgeron said. "I think Kole is going to be an NFL tight end, he needs to get more physical at the point of attack. I promised the tight ends every day during spring ball they get 10 minutes with me on the sled, learning how to block."
At safety, Derrick Davis figures to push Todd Harris and Jordan Toles for snaps this spring. The Tigers recently lost Maurice Hampton Jr. who elected to enter the transfer portal. The arrival of Sage Ryan and Matthew Langlois in the summer will help but there's no doubt it's one of the weaker positions in terms of depth on the roster.
Orgeron himself will also be keeping a close eye on the running back situation. Neither of the freshmen running backs, Corey Kiner and Armoni Goodwin, are on campus yet.
That leaves plenty of opportunity for veterans Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery to make an impact this spring and show they can be more consistent. The two have now been in the program for two years and Orgeron said it's about time for them to start playing up to their potential.
"We're so excited to have Corey Kiner, we think that he is gonna be a lot like Clyde Edwards-Helaire," Orgeron said. "You never can tell but he reminds us of Clyde on film. We recruited TDP and John Emery but hey, they gotta step up. They have not played up to their potential, those are two great backs that we gotta get more out of them."