HOOVER, Ala. — The LSU football team was one of three teams on stage at the SEC Media Days on Monday and the Tigers did their share of generating news.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron, running back Derrius Guice, wide receiver D.J. Chark and defensive end Christian LaCouture led a star-studded day. Orgeron updated LSU football’s entire depth chart and the players spoke about the summer-long development of the Tigers freshmen.
Here are the biggest LSU football headlines of the day, plus an updated depth chart courtesy of Orgeron.
The quarterback battle
After a busy spring, the LSU football team headed into the summer without a starting quarterback, but with incumbent starter Danny Etling holding an edge in a quarterback competition. Two weeks into July, nothing has changed.
“So there’s still a quarterback competition going into fall camp, but right now if we were to play, Danny would be our starter,” Orgeron said. “And by the way, Danny loves the competition. He loves that we made it a quarterback competition. Actually he thrives in it. So to answer the question about the quarterback competition, there’s still a competition there, but right now Danny is the leader.”
Etling underwent surgery over the summer to alleviate back pain he had been feeling since 2016.
Chark said the surgery has worked wonders for Etling since his return.
“At first I didn’t recognize [a difference],” the senior receiver said. “But now when I’m running routes, he can get the ball wherever. The timing is great. Coming out of the breaks instead of having to look, it’s right there. His anticipation is better. It’s what he really worked on while he was hurt, and now that he’s not hurt anymore, he’s looking pretty good.”
Etling isn’t the only returning LSU football player recovering from a summer surgery.
All-SEC edge rusher Arden Key, who set out the spring semester because of personal reasons, had shoulder surgery upon returning to the team.
Orgeron said the surgery could keep Key out of fall camp.
“We won’t know nothing for a while there,” Orgeron said. “This is going to be a rehab that’s going to take some time. We don’t have a time limit on it, but as far as everything we’re hearing, it’s going to be fine. I don’t know when he’ll be back or what time he’ll be back. He will not be [ready for camp] for sure.”
While Key might not be ready for fall camp, Orgeron left out hope that he could be ready for the Sept. 2 season opener against BYU in Houston and said he doesn’t anticipate the injury to linger into SEC play.
Florida stirred up a bit of a frenzy last week when it announced its game against LSU on Oct. 7 will be the homecoming game.
Given his first opportunity to respond to the news, Orgeron remained cordial.
“People going to do what they going to do,” he said. “And Florida is a great rivalry for us. We respect them. Any time we go into the swamp, it’s going to be a battle. We need to prepare. I have a lot of respect for Coach McElwain and the job that they do. We are going to be ready to play regardless of what it is.”
Given the controversy surrounding LSU’s game-that-wasn’t against Florida a year ago, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey took the opportunity to address the controversy, and explained some new rule changes that have resulted.
“We didn’t have a policy as a conference once you move past game day,” Sankey said. “That’s has to be the authority of the commissioner to designate the game day. That has been corrected. The membership voted, both our athletics directors and our presidents unanimously to say the conference commissioner has the authority to place that game.”
The LSU contingent was grilled by reporters about the Tigers’ six-game losing streak against Alabama.
But if you ask Orgeron, the gap between the two teams isn’t that large.
“I don’t know if it’s that big of a gap,” Orgeron said. “We need to play our football.”
Guice, for example, wouldn’t walk back his now-infamous comments from last fall that Alabama was “scared” of LSU. In short, Guice issued the shortest answer that works:
“That’s what I said,” Guice reiterated. “Would you be scared?”
Updated LSU football depth chart
As Orgeron divulged in his opening comments Monday, here is LSU’s current depth chart*:
QB: Danny Etling
RB: Derrius Guice, Darrel Williams
WR: D.J. Chark, Russell Gage, Derrick Dillon, Stephen Sullivan
TE: Foster Moreau, J.D. Moore
LT: K.J. Malone
LG: Garrett Brumfield
C: Will Clapp, Lloyd Cushenberry
RG: Maea Teuhema, Donavaughn Campbell
RT: Toby Weathersby, Jakori Savage, Adrian Magee
RDE: Rashard Lawrence, Frank Herron
LDE: Christian LaCouture, Justin Thomas, Neil Farrell
NT: Greg Gilmore, Ed Alexander, Tyler Shelvin
OLB: Arden Key, Ray Thornton, Andre Anthony, K’Lavon Chaisson
F-OLB: Corey Thompson, Michael Divinity Jr.
ILB: Donnie Alexander, Jacob Phillips
ILB: Devin White, Patrick Queen, Tyler Taylor
CB: Donte Jackson, Greedy Williams
S: John Battle, Grant Delpit
S: Ed Paris, JaCoby Stevens, Todd Harris
CB: Kevin Toliver, Kary Vincent Jr., Jontre Kirklin
*Just because Orgeron didn’t mention a player doesn’t mean he isn’t on the depth chart. At quarterback and in the defensive backfield, Orgeron was particularly vague.