BATON ROUGE, La. — Christmas Break in Baton Rouge is nearly upon after LSU wrapped up an early morning practice on Thursday.
Practice began at 5:57 a.m., but coach Ed Orgeron praised his team’s intensity and referred to it as “game ready.”
Members of the team will head home after Thursday morning’s classes, then the Tigers will resume practicing in Baton Rouge on Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday and Thursday in Orlando, Fla.
“Our guys should know the gameplan,” Orgeron said. “It’s a matter of polishing it up.”
Orgeron also touched on some key topics:
On new offensive coordinator Matt Canada
Canada, who was tabbed as LSU’s offensive coordinator eight days ago, has been recruiting … a lot.
The former Pitt offensive coordinator has remained with the Panthers and will through the Pinstripe Bowl game against Northwestern. However, he flew to LSU’s campus on Wednesday to meet with juniors such as wide receivers Malachi Dupre and D.J. Chark, who are contemplating a potential move to the NFL.
“He’s been texting, involved in recruitment of our players and juniors coming back,” Orgeron said. “He’s been fully involved in Pitt’s preparation, but we have been in contact regarding recruiting. It’s been slow, but sure. There’s some guys really receptive, guys who made up their mind.”
As for those juniors who have yet to make a decision …
“We want them to get them to know Matt Canada,” Orgeron said. “How he wants to use them, types of plays. They’re excited about his resume.”
In addition to recruiting current LSU juniors and recruits, Canada has spent some time with the offensive players on the roster to help familiarize them with the new offense.
Recruits, players and the other assistants on the staff are all anxious to get working with the new coordinator given the success he’s had at other stops along the way.
“He brings some juice to the staff,” Orgeron said of Canada. “He brings the juice. He’s ready to go. Has a vision of building a championship program.”
On Leonard Fournette’s decision to hire an agent
Fournette has been in the headlines nonstop after declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft, announcing he’ll sit out the Citrus Bowl against Louisville and then hiring Jay Z’s Roc Nation as his agency.
The now-former star LSU running back made the decision after discussing his options with his coaches and his family, and had the support of Orgeron.
“Every individual is different. When you get to this point, they follow what they feel is best. We wish him the best,” Orgeron said. “He has spent a lot of time with us. I think that we wanted to give him the chance to do what’s best for he and his family. We’re fine with it.”
Orgeron also noted that Fournette’s decision to sit out of the bowl game was predicated on his banged up ankle. Otherwise, LSU’s coach believed he’d be suiting up against Louisville.
“I know if Leonard was 100 percent, he’d be playing with us,” he said.”
On replacing Kendell Beckwith
Earlier this week, junior linebacker Donnie Alexander revealed that Kendell Beckwith tore his ACL in the home finale against Florida.
Beckwith won’t play against Louisville, but Alexander will. So will Devin White for that matter.
The two young linebackers drew praise for Orgeron, but certainly had large shoes to fill when it comes to filling the void left by LSU’s leading tackler.
“Donnie Alexander has good speed, good instincts, but I don’t know if you replace a guy like Kendell Beckwith,” Orgeron said. “Hopefully, Devin White can be that guy later on.”
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