BATON ROUGE – It was just a scrimmage.
And it was closed to reporters as usual.
But, so far, new LSU football coach Ed Orgeron has been more honest about what goes on behind closed doors with the Tigers and does not appear to be just making it up as he goes in his post scrimmage press conferences.
So, here goes.
Tailback Derrius Guice gained 102 yards on nine carries with a 60-yard touchdown on the first play of the scrimmage at Tiger Stadium Saturday afternoon, according to Orgeron. Tailback Darrel Williams gained 76 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns, and tailback Nick Brossette rushed for 54 yards on 13 carries.
No. 1 quarterback Danny Etling completed 8 of 18 passes for 114 yards with two interceptions. No. 2 quarterback Myles Brennan completed 4 of 8 passes for 107 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
“We came out very physical on offense and took it to the defense,” Orgeron said. “The defense was reeling for a little while. Our offense dominated most of the day. I thought they came out with a great, physical mindset.”
This was because LSU’s injury plagued offensive line had some starters back who were not in the scrimmage a week ago, such as senior left tackle K.J. Malone of Ruston and junior right tackle Toby Weathersby.
“This is the first time that Toby scrimmaged and has gone full speed all camp,” Orgeron said. “And you can tell the difference in our blocking. I thought our offensive line today had a pretty good day.”
The starting line featured Malone at left tackle, junior Garrett Brumfield at left guard, redshirt freshman Lloyd Cushenberry III at center, true freshman Ed Ingram at right guard and Weathersby at right tackle.
Junior William Clapp, a two-year starting guard expected to start at center this season, remains out with an injury as does sophomore guard Donavaughn Campbell.
The injury to Clapp and the previous ones to Malone and Weathersby have allowed Ingram and fellow true freshmen Saahdiq Charles and Austin Deculus and redshirt freshman Jakori Savage to gain valuable experience with the first and/or second teams.
“Saahdiq Charles continues to play guard and tackle and has impressed all the coaches,” Orgeron said. “So has Ed Ingram. Those guys are going to be outstanding football players for us. And also Austin Deculus played a lot of snaps today. Whatever happens (as far as the injuries), we try to turn things into a positive. Saahdiq Charles would no way be getting the reps if we wouldn’t be so thin, and he has proven to us that he can play like a starter. So has Eddie.”
Ingram could very well start at right guard in the season opener against Brigham Young in Houston on Sept. 2 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
“He may have to,” Orgeron said. “He can do it. He may have to. It’s Ed Ingram or Lloyd Cushenberry (with Clapp at center).”
Ingram (6-3, 340) was the No. 16 guard in the nation by Rivals.com last recruiting season out of DeSoto, Texas. Charles (6-4, 328) was the No. 18 guard out of Ridgeland Academy in Madison, Mississippi, and Deculus was the No. 3 guard and 59th overall prospect in the country out of Cy-Fair High in Cypress, Texas.
“Those guys have done a fantastic job,” Orgeron said.
Senior D.J. Chark of Alexandria led the receivers with three catches for 52 yards. Sophomore Derrick Dillon caught two for 52 yards. True freshman JaCoby Stevens, who just switched from safety to receiver, caught two passes for 37 yards. True freshman Mannie Netherly caught a 60-yard touchdown.
New offensive coordinator Matt Canada called plays from the press box, where he will operate during the season.
“Matt is very comfortable in calling his offense - things he knows that our guys can do,” Orgeron said. “I thought he did a tremendous job of calling the game.”
LSU apparently has depth at offensive coordinator as well as tight ends coach Steve Ensminger, who was the interim offensive coordinator last season, called plays from the field when there were technical difficulties with the headphones in the press box.
“I let Steve call the plays,” Orgeron said. “He called them. Didn’t blink an eye.”
Sophomore tackle Rashard Lawrence of Monroe led the defense with six tackles with one for a loss. Redshirt freshman defensive end Glen Logan had four tackles with a sack, another tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. Senior nose tackle Greg Gilmore and true freshman outside linebacker/defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson each had sacks.
True freshman Grant Delpit, who could start over senior Ed Paris at free safety this season, returned an interception for a touchdown.
“It was a fantastic preseason game two,” Orgeron said. “Our guys were highly spirited and prepared. I thought our coaches prepared our team well.”