BATON ROUGE – As part of the plan to get LSU ready its season-opener against BYU, head coach Ed Orgeron and his coaching staff are treating the four Saturday scrimmages in August like preseason games.
Saturday served as preseason game No. 1 for LSU and Orgeron liked what he saw as the Tigers wrapped up their first week of camp here with a fast-paced, high energy 90-play workout at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility. Saturday’s practice started outside but was forced indoors about midway through the workout because of lightning in the area.
“It was a balanced scrimmage,” Orgeron told the media after the workout. “The first offense went against the first defense and they scored twice. The offense had a good day for the installation that’s been taking place this week. The defense had a tremendous scrimmage. Guys were playing very well and they were playing very fast.”
Quarterback Danny Etling connected on 5-of-11 passes for 86 yards, including TD tosses of 32 yards to Darrel Williams and 28 yards to Russell Gage. Etling also had another lengthy touchdown pass dropped.
“I thought he did fantastic,” Orgeron said of Etling’s performance. “We missed a long ball that would’ve been a touchdown. It was on the money and we should’ve caught it. I thought his passes were on the money. He was under duress all day with the rush. His leadership, he’s probably out there working out right now. All through camp he’s been consistent. It looks like he’s throwing the ball better.
“Myles Brennan has made some tremendous throws. He’s a young player who’s growing. We’ve had him working some second team reps to see what he can do and give him a chance, just like we told everybody. Justin McMillan, Lowell Narcisse, all the guys have been working second team reps. We’ve been as fair as we can with the reps that we can give in camp.”
Etling led a total of six quarterbacks that took snaps during the scrimmage. Lindsey Scott Jr. and Lowell Narcisse each completed 1-of-2 passes, while Myles Brennan connected on 1-of-4 attempts.
Williams led all running back with 40 yards on eight carries, while Derrius Guice added 23 yards on seven attempts and Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed six times for 19 yards.
Jacoby Stevens, who made the switch from safety to wide receiver earlier in the week, led all receivers with two catches for nine yards. Drake Davis added a reception for a 15-yard gain.
Defensively, Orgeron singled out the play of recent LSU graduate Frank Herron, who had four tackles, including a pair of sacks and another tackle for loss. Herron graduated on Friday morning with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
“Frank lost the starting position in the spring and he’s fought back and came back in great shape,” Orgeron said. “Today he was one of the most powerful players on defense.”
Another defensive standout for LSU during its first preseason game was that of freshman linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, who had three tackles for loss and a sack.
“We love the play of Rashard Lawrence,” Orgeron said. “Greg Gilmore and those guys were strong in the middle. K’Lavon Chaisson has been dominant. He’s exactly the type player we thought he’d be. Jacob Phillips, Tyler Taylor and Patrick Queens are getting a lot of reps. They’re playing hard. With Matt’s offense, it makes it hard on our defense. When the game slows down a little bit I think those young guys are going to be fantastic.”
The Tigers are scheduled to watch the film from the scrimmage on Saturday night and will then take Sunday off from practice before returning to work on Monday with a morning walk-thru followed by an afternoon practice. LSU will hold its second preseason game next Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
“First of all, there’s preparation all week leading up to the game,” Orgeron said of LSU’s preseason plan. “Then we go out and play. The grades tonight on the film will be awfully important. Number one, effort. Number two, assignment. Number 3, technique. To see what they do full speed and how the compete and how hard they play is important.”
LSU opens its first full season under Orgeron on Saturday, September 2 at NRG Stadium in Houston against BYU. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.