If you’re still reeling from the week that wasn’t in LSU football, here’s your antidote. Welcome back to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, the easiest spot to catch up on everything you might’ve missed in LSU sports. Today in the Briefing we’re going to roll out some football practice observations, catch up with some pros, discuss Leonard Fournette and hit you with more news than you can handle. You ready for this? Let’s get to it:
We talkin’ ’bout practice!
As has been true of every Monday of the short-but-action-packed Ed Orgeron era in Baton Rouge, LSU’s Monday practice was partially open to the media. SEC Country was on hand to make a few observations for you. Let’s talk about them:
- Perhaps the most noteworthy observation from Monday was the way LSU chose to align its offensive line. For most of the first team reps in the first hour of practice, Andy Dodd was lined up as LSU’s starting center. Regular starting center Ethan Pocic was repping primarily at right tackle. Where was right tackle Maea Teuhema, you may ask? Well, he was back at his natural position, playing left guard. Josh Boutte and K.J. Malone were at their regular positions of right guard and left tackle. These changes were made necessary by the continued injury statuses of left guard Will Clapp and right tackle Toby Weathersby. If Pocic moves back to his regular post as the center, expect Garrett Brumfield to take over at guard and Teuhema to continue as the right tackle. It’s not quite clear yet if LSU was exploring a contingency plan or rolling out its new unit, but this is something to monitor all week and Saturday as well.
- Fans and media alike have been critical of quarterback Danny Etling’s execution on deep passes this season, especially due to his tendency to overthrow open receivers. Either to remedy this or just to help Etling improve, offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger dialed up quite a few deep balls in practice Monday. The video above shows one. Etling wasn’t laser accurate or anything, but he did show impressive precision on a back-shoulder throw down the left sideline just short of the end zone, a difficult throw to make to a moving receiver regardless of coverage.
- In one of the lighter moments of practice, quarterback Brandon Harris and running back Nick Brossette collided and fell to the ground after a miscommunication on a handoff in the backfield. To add to the embarrassment, the play was the last rep of a drill, meaning that was the note the team ended the exercise. Brossette tapped his shoulder after the play, indicating it was his fault.
- Orgeron continued his role as Hype-Man-in-Chief, running after and with his players during drills. At one point, Orgeron sidled behind cornerback Donte Jackson and continuously screamed ‘Let’s go!’ in his direction for around five seconds.
- Unsurprisingly, star tailback Leonard Fournette was not at practice.
Well, wasn’t that a segue?
As long as he’s in Baton Rouge, Fournette will be the most-discussed player on the team. It’s almost unavoidable at this point. Much like his nagging ankle injury.
On Monday afternoon, Orgeron listed Fournette as “questionable,” the same status he gave his running back last Thursday after the game against Florida was postponed.
There are so many variables surrounding Fournette’s availability this weekend. On the for-playing-him side, there’s the camp that understands every game is equally valuable at this point, and LSU can’t afford to give its best players weeks off. On the flip-side, there’s the camp that believes SEC games are inherently more valuable than nonconference games, and if Fournette has a chance of re-aggravating this injury, there’s no sense in letting it happen against Southern Miss instead of Ole Miss or Alabama. Still again, there’s the camp made up primarily of NFL agents and Cleveland Browns fans that doesn’t want to see anything endanger Fournette’s draft status, even if its just a silly ankle injury.
I don’t have all the answers, LSU fans. So, like Ten Years After, I’ll leave it up to you. Let me know your thoughts on the Fournette situation in the poll below and we’ll revisit this situation in Wednesday’s Briefing.
It’s been a busy week in LSU sports. It’s understandable if you missed a story or two. So, here are some of the best links from SEC Country and around the Web this week.
- LSU and Florida need to play, writes Randy Rosetta
- LSU athletic director Joe Alleva drew a line in the sand, writes Scott Rabalais
- Joe Alleva made his decision, but the players might disagree, writes Glenn Guilbeau
- Players are hurt, but it’s time to move on, writes Jim Kleinpeter
- Practice was all about tempo, writes Christian Boutwell
- Florida AD Jeremy Foley wants this game to be played, writes SEC Country’s Ryan Young
Playoffs and passes defensed
Let’s end today’s Briefing on some pro sports notes, shall we?
- Former LSU baseball player and current Boston Red Sox infielder Aaron Hill made his first plate appearance of the postseason Monday. Unfortunately for him, the at-bat was a strikeout on six pitches. Even more unfortunate for him, it was his last at-bat of the postseason. The Red Sox lost 4-3 to the Cleveland Indians. With the win, the Indians swept the series and advanced to face the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. With the Red Sox loss, Hill won’t win a World Series ring and, more importantly for baseball, David Ortiz’s storied Major League Baseball career has come to an end with 541 regular-season home runs and three World Series titles.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker and former LSU player Kwon Alexander had a nice game for himself on Monday Night Football. Alexander notched 5 tackles — three of which were solo — and batted one pass as the Bucs beat the defending NFC champion Panthers on a 38-yard field goal off the foot of much-maligned rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo as time expired.