Erasing the "—OR—" from LSU's depth chart

Breaking down the winners of LSU's position battles entering Week 1.

LSU released a depth chart Monday that had four “—OR—“ distinctions for starting positions on offense and defense.

As the week’s progressed, we’ve been able to erase most of those as Les Miles has announced which player won that particular position battle for the season opener. Below we’ll break down the four positions that were still open competition entering the week, who won the spot and what that means for LSU moving forward.

QUARTERBACK


Brandon Harris —OR— Anthony Jennings

Starter: Brandon Harris


This was the hottest battle of the offseason, though its winner was a foregone conclusion. Miles didn’t officially announce Harris as the starter until Monday, but it surprised nobody that the sophomore beat Jennings for the starting spot. Harris took the majority of first-team reps from Day 1 of fall camp and never relinquished his position. Harris has shown improvements in his maturity, and that’s as important as any on-the-field trait.

The Harris era officially begins this weekend. LSU fans are eager to see whether Harris will live up to the hype that’s followed him since he became one of the highest rated quarterbacks to sign with LSU in recent years. He’s ready for people to forget that dreadful Auburn game from last season, and Saturday kicks off a new chapter for the LSU offense under the more-dynamic Harris.

LEFT GUARD


William Clapp —OR— Maea Teuhema

Starter: Will Clapp


Miles said Wednesday that Clapp would get the start at left guard ahead of the freshman Teuhema. Clapp has looked like he’d be a starter since the spring, and actually entered fall as the first-team center. But LSU ultimately went with the more veteran Ethan Pocic at center, leaving Clapp to stick with guard.

Going with Clapp as the starter could signal a reversal in LSU’s makeup along the offensive line. The last few years, the Tigers have mostly run behind the left side of the line with big boys like La’El Collins and Vadal Alexander. Now the bigger bodies are on the right, and part of Clapp’s strength has been his ability to pull. Maybe this year we see more runs to the right.

We’ll also still have to see how much Teuhema plays in this first game. Miles didn’t provide much insight Wednesday when asked how they planned to use him, other than to say he’d help keep the others fresh.

RIGHT GUARD


Josh Boutte —OR— William Clapp

Starter: Josh Boutte


Miles announced Boutte as the starting right guard at the same time he named Clapp for the left side. That didn’t come as a surprise as Boutte has held on to the first-team spot throughout fall camp. Miles and others have regularly called Boutte the strongest guy on the team, and that’s more evidence toward LSU bringing the power to the right side of the line.

Boutte came to LSU a four-star prospect in that 2013 class, but he’s admitted he didn’t show up ready for the demands of college football. It took a while for that to click, but he’s all in now and prepared to roll with his new starting spot.

CORNERBACK


Dwayne Thomas —OR— Kevin Toliver

Starter: Dwayne Thomas


Miles hasn’t officially made an announcement on this position, but the veteran Thomas should get the first snap ahead of the freshman Toliver. His emergence as a realistic option on the outside was one of the top stories of the last few weeks. Thomas enters his fourth year in the program, but he’s spent nearly all of his playing time as a nickel or dime back. That’s where he played last season when he suffered that season-ending torn ACL.

But Thomas proved himself during preseason practices that he can be trusted on an island. He’ll still come inside though on extra-DB situations, which means you’ll still see plenty of Toliver. The freshman must also fend off Edward Paris to keep that spot. With all the depth and talent in LSU’s secondary, the coaches will continue to evaluate where things stand at this position.

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Get ready for kickoff with everything you need to know about this year's LSU football team thanks to the video below.




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