Good morning, Wednesday warriors, and welcome back to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, the only LSU column you need to read today if you didn’t read anything yesterday. In today’s Briefing we have a few observations from football practice on Tuesday, some updates on legal news from Monday and some tape breakdown for good measure. It’ll be a good one, friends. Let’s get to it.
Under the new Ed Orgeron regime, the media is allowed to view a couple sessions of team practices in the afternoons. SEC Country was there, and even though we weren’t given water breaks like the players, we toughed it out for the sake of knowledge. Here are some of our observations from the day:
- If there’s one thing that you can’t know enough about, it’s quarterbacks. And as some keen observers may have noticed, Orgeron has not yet guaranteed exactly that Danny Etling is his starting quarterback. Looking at the way the team divided reps during practice Tuesday, it’s kind of still equally unclear. Etling was working with the first-team exclusively, but so was backup Brandon Harris. For most drills when the first team was working, be it in route trees or just in basic play installation packages, the quarterbacks were either rotating or working at the same time. The safe bet is to assume that Etling still is LSU’s No. 1 quarterback, but don’t take that expected truth for granted.
- Newly hired defensive line coach Pete Jenkins isn’t coming in and feeling the team out in his first week. He’s going all in, just as Orgeron insinuated he would. In a drill early on in the practice, Jenkins noticed something that sack-master Arden Key was doing wrong technique-wise in the way he used his hands. Jenkins wedged his way into Key’s place and instead of explaining how to fix the flaw, Jenkins demonstrated himself, manhandling a defender to prove his point. Jenkins, by the way, is 75 years old.
- If you think defensive line coaches like Orgeron and Jenkins have a monopoly on intensity, you would be wrong. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has the sort of quiet intensity that only someone well-versed in oxymorons could possibly explain. His teaching methods are subdued but firm, as could be seen when he advised a group of linebackers how to improve at sideline tackling, chirping reminders such as “get your chest into him” and “get downhill” repeatedly until his players understood.
- The most interesting drill to watch of the afternoon belonged to the receivers and tight ends. They took turns throwing balls to one another from five yards apart. When the ball came into a player’s hands, two teammates holding blocking dummies whacked the receiving player with the dummies in the head, hands, abdomen or wherever they felt necessary, trying to jar the ball loose. Oftentimes it worked, simulating getting hit when going over the middle for a catch. If a wide receiver can’t corral a pass because they get stung, don’t blame it on a lack of preparation.
As we explained Tuesday in the Briefing, LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux was suspended indefinitely by LSU Monday after he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment. Godchaux was released on bond shortly thereafter.
On Tuesday, it was announced by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office that the charges against Godchaux have been dropped.
There has been no indication from the team thus far about a reversal of his indefinite suspension, though it is likely that Orgeron will comment on this the next time he speaks.
Wide receiver Wednesday
As a guy who fell in love with football in the heat of the Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison era in the NFL, it should come as no surprise that I love wide receivers. Every Wednesday, I honor that love.
Today, I’m going to mix it up a bit, though, and talk about not an LSU wide receiver but a Missouri one. Through four games, no SEC wide receiver has more catches, yards or touchdowns than 6-foot-3 Missouri junior J’Mon Moore. And sure, 4 of his 6 touchdowns came against Delaware State, but if you take away his performance against the cupcake, he’s still averaging more than 100 yards per game and he put up 196 of them against Georgia, a team that finished the 2015 season ranked No. 1 nationally in pass defense.
Moore might not be Jeremy Maclin or Dorial Green-Beckham or any of the other stud wideouts who have come through Columbia in the last decade, but he is as domineering of a red zone threat as the SEC has seen in a little while, at least if his performance against Delaware State is any indication. As proof, here’s a cut of all four of his touchdowns from Saturday.
For those of you who need to be bludgeoned over the head with the brick of obviousness, all four of those receptions came from inside the 10-yard line. There’s not much you can learn about a man from these clips except for the fact that he is just a superior athlete to any DB on Delaware State. But there are a couple of lessons in here.
One, and this is kind of obvious, Missouri is not afraid to spread out a team on the goal line. And Moore is an imposing threat. So, with that threat looming, LSU is going to have to be extra careful to not allow an easy rushing touchdown up the middle, especially without Godchaux clogging up holes. Yes, Moore is the kind of threat you don’t want to forget about, but the easiest way to score is a straight line, and spread offenses prey on teams that over-commit to stopping the pass.
Two, and this is more about Moore himself, he is an extremely proprioceptive wide receiver. In simpler terms, Moore has great awareness of where he is on the field, and where his feet need to be. This shows that Moore is not afraid of using the sideline to his advantage, something that makes it harder for defensive backs to get a hand on the ball without interfering. LSU’s best cover corner, Tre’Davious White, is a dominating player, but he gives up three inches to Moore, meaning that balls thrown to the outside will nearly always be out of his reach if he’s not hyper-vigilant with his coverage.
The easiest way to stop this sort of thing from coming to pass, though? A good pass rush. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock made these passes look easy because he wasn’t under much pressure. If LSU can make Lock rush his throws, it’ll be up to Moore to beat White with technique, not with sheer athleticism. And if that is the case, White regains his advantage.
Unluckily for LSU, though, Missouri has allowed an SEC-low one sack on the whole season. But I’ll have more on that Friday.
A lot has been going on this week in LSU sports. It’s OK if you’ve missed a couple of things. So, here’s a quick catch-up on all things Tigers, from both SEC Country and across the Web.
- The Advocate went into some degree of detail in what they saw in practice Tuesday
- LSU’s players are trying their hardest to move on, writes Glenn Guilbeau
- An LSU baseball player avoided injury, which is always good
- Our own Alex Hickey explained how LSU’s players are heeding Les Miles’ advice and forgetting about him
- NOLA.com put together a slideshow of all the things that happened on the recruiting trail in the Miles era that shouldn’t continue to happen
We’re talkin’ baseball
Former LSU shortstop Alex Bregman returned to the batter’s box for the first time since Sept. 14 on Tuesday, pinch hitting in the Astros’ 8-4 win over the Mariners.
Bregman singled on the fourth pitch he saw, driving in a run before being immediately pinch run for. The win was pivotal for the rookie infield and his team, as it brought them closer to the all-too-competitive second AL Wild Card spot, a position the Astros now trail by 2 1/2 games. The Mariners still remain ahead of them, sitting two games back, and the Detroit Tigers are one game behind the Baltimore Orioles, who currently hold that second spot.
For Bregman, the hit was huge, but also a bit nerve-wracking, as this tweet does a good job of summing up.
Bregman: I might've been more nervous that at-bat than the first of my career. pic.twitter.com/s0rD9Wbk5L
— Houston Astros (@astros) September 28, 2016