Ed Orgeron walked into the football ops facility at 6 a.m. to find the entire offensive staff on a zoom meeting with the San Francisco 49ers offensive line coach.
One of the primary objectives after spring ball was finding the best ways to utilize the running game which didn't get an opportunity to shine with injuries and freshmen not yet on campus. The staff was going over various offensive line protections as to the best possible ways to open up holes for Tyrion Davis-Price, John Emery, Kevontre Bradford, Corey Kiner and Armoni Goodwin.
"It was 4 a.m. his time and they were going over outside zones, steps of the footwork," Orgeron said on Off the Bench. "We're going over our base runs and getting the details down that we want.
"If you can hold onto the football and you can take a hit and catch balls out of the backfield, which all these guys can do, you can play. I think that's a position that those guys are gonna have to play, especially with the running backs durability. It's a position where guys are gonna get nicked up. I think Corey and Armoni are gonna play next year."
The next steps for this offense under first time offensive coordinator Jake Peetz is going over the passing attack, which did air the ball out and showed some positive signs during the spring game. Then it's off to evaluating the week one opponent UCLA.
But all the while, the Tigers are keeping an eye on the transfer portal and what kind of additions the program can make to bolster the roster. Offensive line, safety or possibly tight end depth would all be areas of need for this program if it wanted to add another player with its final scholarship.
Of course the first name that comes to mind is tight end Arik Gilbert, who was on campus recently and had a positive meeting with the coaching staff. But looking ahead to 2022, there's one position that Orgeron feels strongly about because many of its veterans are going to be leaving after this season.
"We're always looking at roster management and the first thing that comes to mind for me, for next year in the recruiting class which we have some great ones already committed, is the offensive line," Orgeron said. "We've gotta replace a veteran offensive line and I can see us having a great high school recruiting class but also we'll have to get graduate transfers because that's the position that'll get hit the hardest."
How the program addresses some of the depth needs will be telling over the next few months but at the same time, getting those 2021 signed players on campus in late May will be shot in the arm as well.