This time a year ago, much was already predetermined about who would be playing and starting week one for the Tigers. LSU had just lost 14 veterans from a national championship squad and the returning starters, it was easy to pencil in their names.
You had Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall at receiver, John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price at running back and even Myles Brennan felt like that quarterback in waiting, particularly because LSU was welcoming two true freshmen to the room. But after a disappointing year of opt outs, transfers and a 5-5 record, there are hardly any positions that aren't up for grabs.
Outside of the offensive line and a few lockdown pieces in the secondary like Derek Stingley and Elias Ricks, this is an open book depth chart. It's certainly set to make for an extremely competitive spring session but it's one that coach Ed Orgeron can't hardly wait to get started.
"It's a new energy. It's a new attention to detail and it's a new thought process. We're playing a completely different defense, we're putting in the same offense we had in 2019 so it's new for our players but it's exciting," Orgeron said on Off the Bench Tuesday. "Our guys are up here, they're learning from the coaches and you can see this year we can't take anything for granted. We cannot ever have a year like we did last year."
With new coordinators and position coaches in the room, it allows for fresh eyes to see the talent that lies at each position heading into the spring, which is set to begin next month. With the newness of the coaching staff, it's breathed new life into the players as it ensures that pretty much everyone will get a fair look and be given some level of opportunity to prove themselves.
With one open spot left in the 2021 class, there are a few positions like safety or tight end that could use a little more depth. Orgeron said that there are many positions up for grabs because of inexperience and a need for development.
"We have to find some new safeties. We've gotta develop some linebackers, gotta develop some tight ends. The receiving core has to come together," Orgeron said.
These first handful of weeks have been about getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of each player but now it's time to start devising the scheme that best works, something both Jake Peetz and Daronte Jones are undoubtedly working and critiquing day after day.
"This is gonna be a great spring, two new coordinators but the big thing is we got a team coming back. We've got some experience coming back, a great quarterback room, offensive and defensive line coming back," Orgeron said. "We have more returning starters then we've ever had so it's gonna be a good year for us."