LSU QB Danny Etling (Photo by Billy Embody)

10 Takeaways from LSU's Spring Football Game as Defense dominates

LSU's Spring Game went for just about a half in Tiger Stadium before moving to the indoor due to weather. Here's what we learned from the Tigers' Spring Game.

After LSU's Spring Game came to a close and the Gold team won 26-7, there's a lot to take in after the shortened spring game. 

Saturday night was a defensive night as head coach Ed Orgeron put it, but the offense will get better he said. Here are the rest of the takeaways from LSU's Spring Game.

1. Quarterback competition is wide open as ever

After Danny Etling's 4-for-11 night in the passing game for just 53 yards, 35 coming on a deep ball on the first drive to D.J. Chark, Orgeron reiterated that the competition is wide open. "The quarterback competition is open, and it is going to stay open until somebody proves they are our No. 1 quarterback," Orgeron said. With Justin McMillan completing one pass for 10 yards and other stats from Lindsey Scott and Lowell Narcisse not available once things were moved inside, it wasn't anything to write home about from LSU's offense. This summer and fall camp will be pressure-filled on quarterbacks as Orgeron said he was not impressed when the lights came on for Etling and he didn't play well.

2. Grant Delpit pushing hard to be a starter

With John Battle out for the spring game with injuries, early enrollee Grant Delpit got the start and proved he has the tools to start Game 1 for the Tigers. "Grant may start for us. Grant proved tonight that he could make plays," Orgeron said, who compared Delpit to soon-to-be first round pick Jamal Adams. Orgeron reiterated that the team will have some young players starting for the Tigers on defense and this further pushed that. Delpit already looks the part and while Battle might end up starting Game 1, don't be surprised if Delpit ends up taking that starting job. 

3. Rashard Lawrence, Ed Alexander could both end up starters

In his first action as a starter, former five-star defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence proved why he earned the job over Frank Herron, who got nicked up in the indoor session of the spring game. Lawrence didn't show up on the stat sheet, but Orgeron praised him after the spring game as well. Herron racked up a sack and a tackle for loss so his night was not a disappointment either. Another rising sophomore that is pushing to start over a fifth-year senior is Ed Alexander, who although worked with the second unit, racked up a sack and a tackle for loss. Greg Gilmore had a tackle on the night. Orgeron said that Alexander needs to improve on his conditioning to get considered for the starting job like Lawrence did, but he continues to get better.

Rashard Lawrence (Photo by Terrill Weil)

4. Offensive line struggles, but help is on the way

With starting offensive linemen Will Clapp and Toby Weathersby out, LSU's first unit on offensive line gave up a sack and a quarterback hurry, but Etling was under pressure for much of the night. The backups gave up four sacks on the night. When Clapp and Weathersby return, LSU will get an infusion of experience and talent on the offensive line, which will help. Garrett Brumfield remains locked in a battle at left guard and Orgeron said Austin Deculus, who shoud be going to prom, is the one who is running behind him and pushing. It was a tough night for the offensive line, but there were key holes that will be filled in the fall.

5. All the motions, jet sweeps on display

Matt Canada's offense is exactly what a lot of people expected. A few deep shots down the field, jet sweeps all around and then plenty of motions and shifts. LSU broke the huddle quickly to get its center and receivers in place before the rest of the line broke the huddle. All of that allows LSU to move quickly at the line of scrimmage as far motions go. LSU even motioned Russell Gage three times in one play, drawing laughs from the crowd because it was almost unexpected. The creativity is there even with LSU holding back a bit offensively, which might explain some of the issues faced by the offense against the defense. 

6. Kevin Toliver stepped up like LSU needed him to

LSU cornerback Kevin Toliver had a rough 2016 season after seeing his starting spot slip away once he got hurt. Toliver responded in the spring game with an interception and a pass breakup to go with a tackle. Starting opposite Donte Jackson, Toliver had a big game and helped secure his starting spot after being pushed by young talent like Saivion Smith. Orgeron said postgame that Toliver had a good spring in all, which helps solidify him at cornerback. There's still a nickel spot up for grabs too, which Orgeron said that Kary Vincent, Jr. could end up filling once he arrives this summer.

LSU DB Kevin Toliver (Photo by Terrill Weil)

7. Running back depth on display on Saturday

While Derrius Guice had a ho-hum night of six rushes for 12 yards, LSU knows what it has in the All-SEC back. Darrel Williams carried twice for 16 yards as well, but it was the reserves of Lanard Fournette and Nick Brossette that stood out with a combined 11 carries for 54 yards on the night. Fournette ran well on the day his older brother was honored pregame and Orgeron singled him out postgame. It was another sign that with LSU wanting to rotate backs with Tommie Robinson wanting to rotate them. Freshman Clyde Edwards-Helaire also figures into the mix, Orgeron said for additional depth. 

8. Defense got tired of getting its butt kicked

That was how Orgeron put it postgame. Aranda's defense got worked by Canada's offense for most of spring. That wasn't the case on Saturday night. Aranda's defense held LSU's starting offensive line to 80 total yards with 35 coming on one play. LSU averaged 1.7 yards per play outside of that from its first team offense. It'll give Aranda's squad something to build on heading into the summer as position battles will rage on as freshmen hit the roster this summer. There's bright spots to be had on defense and Saturday night was one of them. 

9. LSU getting infusion of talent, depth for next season

While Devin White starred for LSU at middle linebacker in the Spring Game with four tackles including 1.5 for loss, three of LSU's new middle linebackers were on hand in Jacob PhillipsPatrick Queen and Tyler Taylor, who will arrive in June to begin working with the Tigers. "We feel we recruited three great middle linebackers," Orgeron told reporters after the game. Orgeron expects each of them to play a lot as freshmen out of necessity and will be leaned on for depth and to make plays in Aranda's defense.

10. Lowell Narcisse could end up being the backup

While early enrollee quarterback Lowell Narcisse wasn't able to display his talent in front of fans, once things moved inside to the indoor practice facility after the lightning delay, Narcisse showed off his talent. The four-star quarterback has the strongest arm out of any of the quarterbacks and showed it off by throwing a deep ball that went incomplete, but went about 40 yards in the air with a flick of the wrist. With Narcisse's ability to run, coupled with enrolling early, once he's able to compete fully with his knee being 100 percent, it'll only get better. With things being wide open at quarterback, Narcisse should get a real shot at the backup position.

Ed Orgeron wraps up Spring Game

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