Week One of LSU spring football is in the books.
Before the Tigers take back to the practice field this week (Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday), I'll summarize what's happened so far and what we've learned about the 2013 team to date.
- Cam Cameron is putting a turbo booster in the offense.
Pace. Speed. Tempo. These are the words you're hearing most to describe what LSU's new offensive coordinator is bringing to the fold one week in. The Tiger quarterbacks - and offense as a whole - are being forced to move at Cam speed now, which it turns out is pretty darn quick and demands rapid turnaround in moving on to the next rep or drill. This transition will without question open up the possibility for LSU to go more no-huddle with its power run game, but in the meantime, the biggest plus is keeping players on their feet and making the offense more acclimated to dealing quickly and under the gun. That's a welcomed change from recent years.
- Projected starting center Elliott Porter has been a no-show.
Porter is on campus and has been spotted several times around the practice facility, but he has not yet joined his teammates in practice. There's no official word yet on the reason for his absence, but I've been told he is not suffering from any kind of long-term injury and to expect him back at some point this spring. In his stead, Josh Williford has moved to first-team center and Jonah Austin is backfilling at left guard. This has also triggered another surprise move: early enrollee Ethan Pocic is learning to play center, currently lining up with the second team and getting loads of personal attention from position coach Greg Studrawa and Les Miles.
- Kwon Alexander will not be the starting Mike linebacker.
But D.J. Welter might be. I must admit I entered spring a little skeptical that he'd be given a legit shot (despite John Chavis telling me he'd be in the mix), but through three practices Welter, a redshirt junior, is lining up in the middle with the first team. It's still entirely possible that Lamin Barrow eventually moves inside, but for now the job seems to be Welter's to lose. Alexander is running with the second team (which features Lamar Louis at Mike LB), but his talents, size and speed will be too much to keep off the field in some capacity.
- Depth on both lines will be an issue until Fall Camp.
I've already touched on the situation with the offensive line, which can barely flesh out two full units minus Porter. The numbers are just as bad defensively. For that reason, and because of the abundance of depth at linebacker, Ronnie Feist has moved down to end. It's probably a good thing LSU only scrimmages three times (including the spring game) because there's not a lot of meat on the bone in the trenches. That will change, though, in August when six defensive linemen flood the system to go with three more big guys on the offensive side of the ball. Still, even when the season kicks off, experienced depth on the lines will remain a real issue.
- There's a list of players who came in passing the eyeball test.
Here are the new Tigers who are bigger in person than I expected: TE Logan Stokes, WR John Diarse and OL Ethan Pocic. Stokes, listed at 6-5, 253, looks like a monster and will give LSU an immediate solution to the losses of Chase Clement and Nic Jacobs. Pocic, 6-7, 287 pounds, is a man out there given he could be in high school today. And then there's Diarse. I stood on the Neville sideline during the state championship game in December, so I recall how well-built he looked compared to prep players. It's amazing, though, how he still stands out at the collegiate level next to LSU's other receivers. Listed at 5-11, 200, Diarse is going to be a load (and an athletic load) to take down.
Then there's a returning Tiger who deserves his own paragraph: DE Danielle Hunter. I just have this feeling LSU fans aren't going to be missing KeKe Mingo for too long. Don't want to heap too much on the expectations pile for Hunter in his first year as a starter, but does he ever look the part. The true sophomore is every bit of 6-5 and is an extremely muscular 235 pounds. Hunter's combination of size, strength and quickness is going to be something to marvel at before he leaves campus. In fact, it kinda already is.
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