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LSU Spring Practice Notes

LSU Spring Practice

With LSU’s Spring game only two weeks away, it’s a good time to examine spring practice developments. After losing three first-round prospects on offense and gaining a new defensive staff, the 2024 Tigers entered Spring with more questions than answers. What will the offense look like? How will the team develop depth at defensive tackle? Spring practice is where coaches begin to find and create answers.

LSU Spring Practice Notes

Wide Receiver Hierarchy

Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas have moved on, and it’s not easy to replace their combined 2,746 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns of 2023. However, Kyren Lacy has asserted himself as the Tigers’ top option. The 6-2 senior has brought his game to another level in terms of consistency and accountability.

Redshirt Junior Chris Hilton is taking advantage of good health and opportunity in spring practice. The speedy receiver is getting plenty of run with the ones and continuing to flash the big-play ability that made him such a highly regarded prospect.

“I’m a game changer. All it takes is one play to really be a game changer and that’s what I bring to the table,” Hilton told 247Sports.

Former Alabama transfer Aaron Anderson has also repped with the first team often. So have redshirt freshman Kyle Parker and Liberty transfer CJ Daniels. Daniels had over 1,000 receiving yards for the Flames in 2023.

Mississippi State transfer Zavion Thomas has also produced at a high level before coming to LSU. Thomas will likely earn time as both a receiver and punt returner. Former five-star recruit Shelton Sampson has mostly repped with the third team along with Khai Prean.

Revised Rushing Attack

The Tigers won’t have the same rushing threat at quarterback this year, so the staff must change its approach to running the ball. Brian Kelly has made statements that suggest more variety in the running plays than the previous zone-heavy game plans of last year.

“We think our tackles can move and pull. I think a run game that now becomes a lot more diversified in the sense we can start moving our offensive linemen to create an offensive running game that strikes on a much wider front,” said Kelly.

2023’s leading rusher, Logan Diggs, has transferred to Ole Miss, leaving the running back room uncomfortably thin. The time is now for sophomore Kaleb Jackson. The explosive back is currently splitting first-team reps with veteran Josh Williams. They are the only scholarship running backs on the roster this spring. Freshman Caden Durham will arrive this summer, but Trey Holly’s status is uncertain with looming legal issues.

Secondary Solutions

Portal additions and position changes have brought about a more confident and competent Tiger defense, especially in the secondary. Texas A&M transfer Jardin Gilbert brings a physical element at safety that has allowed the staff to move Major Burns to the Star position. Burns now plays closer to the line of scrimmage, which should accentuate his strengths in the box.

Sage Ryan has excelled at safety after playing cornerback out of necessity in 2023. Safety is a more natural position for Ryan, and he has looked the part with three interceptions in one practice session. Ryan entered the transfer portal at one point, so his play has reinforced the importance or continuing to recruit the current roster.

Sophomores Ashton Stamps and Javien Toviano have led the way at cornerback this spring. Kelly has indicated that he expects several players to contribute at the position. Ohio State transfer Jyaire Brown has seen significant action with the second team, and the staff has high hopes for JK Johnson once he’s healthy. Early enrollee and Mississippi native PJ Woodland impressed, working his way into the two-deep at this point.

 

LSU Spring Practice
Photo courtesy: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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