LSU Football Spring Practice Preview: 3 Storylines To Watch

    LSU Tigers spring practice preview for 2017. Here are three storylines to watch when the Tigers hit the field on March 11.

    March 10, 2017

    LSU Tigers spring practice preview for 2017. Here are three storylines to watch when the Tigers hit the field on March 11.

    It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life for LSU football … and Ed Orgeron is feeling good.

    After serving as the interim head coach following the dismissal of Les Miles, Orgeron has the job that he wants, and now, he must satisfy a fan base that is sick of their Tigers failing to live up to expectations.

    The talent, as always, is there, but there are a lot of question marks coming into spring practice for LSU, including if Orgeron is even the right man for the job. Let’s not forget: Orgeron has a 22-29 overall record as a head coach. That’s not putting the fear in Nick Saban or any other coach in the SEC.

    As the Tigers begin spring practice on Saturday, here are three storylines to watch for leading up to the National L-Day Game on April 22.

    LSU Tigers Spring Practice Storylines

    1. Opening Up Offense

    For years, the LSU offense has been as predictable as they come: run it on first, run it on second, and hope that the quarterback can finally make a play on third down.

    That wasn’t working for the Tigers, and now the pressure is on new offensive coordinator Matt Canada to turn things around. It starts with finding a quarterback that can be effective, and a deep threat to compliment him. Returning starter Danny Etling seems to be that guy, and Canada will take shots downfield often and early.

    Etling has the advantage of lining up with Derrius Guice, one of the best returning backs in the nation, in the backfield, but until he – or someone else that can prove to be a threat at the position under center – the offense will go nowhere.

    2. Which Brings Me To…

    Who, exactly, will Etling have to throw to? Malachi Dupre is gone, as well as Travin Dural and tight end Colin Jeter. D.J. Chark is the team’s returning leading receiver after catching 26 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns last season. The only two players left after Chark that caught at least 10 passes last season are Guice and fullback John David Moore.

    There’s a litany of players that need to step up during the spring and impress Canada, including Russell Gage, Drake Davis, Stephen Sullivan and Dee Anderson. While none of them are the downfield threat that Dupre provided, all they need to prove is that they are reliable catching the ball and run the right routes. Those skills by itself will prove valuable to an offense that needs to up its passing game.

    3. Filling Hole at Linebacker

    With Arden Key’s status up in the air – the sacks leader from last season left the team for personal reasons in February, but Orgeron expects him back – and both Kendall Beckwith and Duke Riley off to the NFL, there will be some holes to fill at the linebacker position.

    So who will be the new faces at the second level? Andre Anthony could be one, as Orgeron stated he has had “an excellent offseason” so far. Other competitors for playing time will be Ray Thornton and Sci Martin.

    They have big shoes to fill, though. Riley and Beckwith were the two leading tacklers last season, combining for 184 total tackles, including 15 for a loss. The new guys must step up and prove to defensive coordinator Dave Aranda that a beat will not be missed.

    MORE: SEC Football Predictions, Storylines For 2017 Season


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