After a five-week, 15-practice spring camp, the Tigers will end camp with their annual spring game in Death Valley.
With a revamped coaching staff in new offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and defensive coordinator Daronte Jones, the Tigers will look to showcase their new game plan in Tiger Stadium Saturday with kickoff set for noon.
Offensively, the quarterback position will be receiving the most attention as Max Johnson, Myles Brennan, TJ Finley and early enrollee Garrett Nussmeier look to battle it out for the starting spot. With Johnson getting a majority of QB1 snaps throughout spring and Brennan right there with him, it will be interesting to see who Coach Ed Orgeron goes with for Saturday’s contest.
The assumption here is that Johnson and Brennan will both see time at QB1 in the spring game, with Johnson having the slight edge. Brennan’s success in 2020 cannot go unnoticed as he finished the season as LSU's leading passer in only four games with 1,112 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. Brennan has shown what he is capable of when healthy as the starter.
In the backfield, the Tigers will rely on potential starters Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery to carry the load with Jake Peetz’s new system complimenting Davis-Price best. With his ability to make plays in the run and pass game, Davis-Price has the opportunity to emerge as a lethal threat in this new scheme.
With Emery still recovering from injury, it looks as though Davis-Price will get the opportunity to shine Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
At the receiver position, it will be the Kayshon Boutte show as he will be WR1 looking to showcase his skills after a strong freshman campaign. Boutte set the SEC record for most receiving yards in a single game in the season finale against Ole Miss, looking to carry that success into the 2021 season.
Secondary options for the Tigers will be Jaray Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 194-pound menace, who has the ability to break receivers off the line at will and Jontre Kirklin, who has shown flashes of what he can be. Kirklin caught three touchdowns for the Tigers last season and is looking to showcase his talents in Saturday’s spring game.
How much of a workload receiver Deion Smith handles will be interesting to follow as well.
Where LSU is most comfortable will be at the offensive line position as they return every starter from a season ago, headlined by four-year starter Austin Deculus. Dare Rosenthal, Ed Ingram, Chasen Hines and Liam Shanahan look to round out the starting offensive line unit.
Third-year sophomore Anthony Bradford is also a name to watch as he's looking to push himself into the starting group. Bradford has received high praise from Orgeron all spring as he looks to prove himself in Saturday's game.
At the tight end position, LSU will look to continue developing sophomore Kole Taylor, a 6- foot-4, 243-pound talent who looks to be the Tigers starting tight end going into week one against UCLA. Taylor has had a great spring camp and will be receiving the starting snaps at the tight end position in Saturday’s game.
Defensively, the Tigers will be without freshman All-American, Elias Ricks, who will not be suiting up for Saturday’s contest, giving snaps to some familiar faces.
To lead the charge on the defensive side of the ball in Saturday’s showcase will be cornerback Derek Stingley. The All-American, and projected first round draft pick, will look to shine in the spring game.
For the defensive line, senior tackles Neil Farrell and Glen Logan will look to get first team snaps alongside defensive ends Ali Gaye and Andre Anthony complementing them up front. Anthony, a senior for the Tigers, looks to fly up draft boards in his senior campaign and lead this defensive unit.
At the middle linebacker position, JUCO transfer Navonteque Strong will look to make his mark as Orgeron has been giving the sophomore tremendous praise. Strong, a transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, has had a convincing spring thus far for his hard nosed hitting and looks to show his true colors in Saturday’s spring game.
Inside linebackers Damone Clark and Josh White look to round out the starting linebackers, as each have looked physically dominant throughout the 5-week camp.
Safeties Todd Harris and Jay Ward have been the two primary options in the back half of the secondary all spring. A veteran in Harris and the playmaker in Ward will make for an intriguing combination as he’s been one of the consistent players mentioned as a guy who will make tremendous strides in 2021.
This LSU defense has an entirely different demeanor about them going into the spring game with new defensive coordinator Daronte Jones bringing a newfound energy to the locker room.
As Orgeron and his staff adjust to their new schemes, Tiger fans will have a chance to get their first look at this experienced group Saturday afternoon in Death Valley.