Orgeron welcomes players to campus for LSU Preseason Camp

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Ed Orgeron

BATON ROUGE – In what may be one of the earliest starts to preseason football practice in school history, LSU reported to campus on Sunday as the Tigers are set to open its first training camp under head coach Ed Orgeron.

Sunday was a day dedicated to meetings, physicals, and getting fitted for equipment in anticipation for the first day of practice, which will take place on Monday.

New NCAA guidelines no longer allows for two-a-day practices so the Tigers will have a walk-thru in the morning each day during training camp followed by a practice in the afternoon. LSU is slated to have four scrimmages prior to opening the season on Saturday, September 2 against BYU in Houston.

“Our guys have had a tremendous summer under Tommy Moffitt,” Orgeron said. “I couldn’t think of a better guy, a better coach to be with our football team during the summer. We are bigger, stronger and faster. They’ve done a good job of running in the heat, getting used to South Louisiana weather.

“Summer conditioning prepares you for camp. Camp prepares you for the season. We are building our foundation for the 2017 season. We started our foundation today. It’s all going to be about camp. It’s all going to be about competition and energy. Alignment, assignment, technique and fundamentals. We are not going to concentrate on anyone else but the LSU Tigers.”

The Tigers are scheduled to practice in shorts and helmets on Monday and Tuesday followed by helmets and shoulder pads on Wednesday and Thursday. LSU is scheduled to practice in full pads on Saturday.

According to Orgeron, LSU will have what he calls four “preseason games” prior to the season-opener against BYU. LSU’s first “preseason game” will be held on Saturday, August 12. Orgeron said the Tigers will treat each of their four scrimmages just like NFL preseason games.

Orgeron also noted that the Tigers had an excellent summer in the classroom and that defensive lineman Frank Herron will be graduating in August. Herron will become the fifth current member of the team to graduate as he joins quarterback Danny Etling, linebacker Corey Thompson, offensive tackle K.J. Malone and defensive end Christian LaCouture.

Here’s the transcript from Coach Orgeron’s meeting with the media on Sunday afternoon:

Opening statement …
“Hey guys. Welcome back! I hope every one of you had a great summer. I want to discuss something first right offhand. First of all, I want to thank you guys for the great relationship that I have with every one of you. It’s been great. It came out that camp is going to be closed, and here are some of the things that we are going to do. We are going to give you all of the tape that you need on individuals. Any guy that you need, Derek (Ponamsky) is going to film it. We are going to give you complete access to our players like we usually do. I will be available. We are going to open camp back up on Monday, Aug. 21. That will be the same access that you had last year. Nothing is going to change. We have a lot of things that we have to get done offensively. Defensively, we will have new guys going in and out. Special teams. We wanted that time just to have us and the team. If we feel like during camp that we have accomplished the things that we need to accomplish as far as instillation, finish the things that we need to finish, we will have more individual work and will let you in for that. The date is Aug. 21, but if we finish ahead of time, we will let you know. Please let us know anything that we can do for you. Y’all mean a lot to us. We want our Tigers on TV. Y’all do a great job. Our fans want to see our Tigers on TV, and we want to continue that tradition.

“Obviously, we are fired up. Everybody is pumped up. I just showed them a nice video of the LSU tradition. The title was “Dream On.” It had all of the LSU greats. We were watching in the Lawton Room in the stadium.. I am excited to see our outstanding freshman class. We’ve seen a little bit of them in the summer. Now is going to be the time to see them in an atmosphere where everybody’s together, everybody’s working, 11-on-11, competing. When we get the pads on, we will see the guys who are ready to play SEC ball. I am excited to see Myles Brennan. I haven’t seen him yet. I’m excited to see Danny (Etling) and see him throw full speed. Is he full speed? We’ve been hearing this and hearing that. We haven’t seen him throw. I imagine he will be full speed and ready to go. I’m excited to see Matt Canada continue on with this offense and put in the things that he needs to put in during the next three weeks to have what he wants for his arsenal throughout the season. I’m excited to see our special teams coach. We are going to work hard. We have five different coaches assigned to different areas led by special teams analyst Greg McMahon. I’m excited to see Dave Aranda in his second season and what he’s going to do with the defense. Pete Jenkins and who is going to be our linebackers. Who is going to take the place of all of the guys that we have lost? There are a lot of question marks going into camp that we have to answer, but we have the talent to answer it. We have the ability to answer it, and we have the coaching staff that is ready to work. Our coaches have taken most of July off. They are back fresh, ready to go and cranked up. Tonight will be our first full meeting at 8 p.m. Our guys will be ready to go.

“If something comes up in the next couple of weeks. If you need me and you need answers about the depth chart, about injuries about how we are doing, who’s doing this, who’s doing that, I will answer it as honestly as I can. We look forward to continue having a great relationship with you guys.

“A couple of things that I know right now. Seth Stewart will not be reporting to camp. He will not be attending Louisiana State University. As far as we know, he has decided not to play football. We don’t know that for sure, but I know that he will not be at camp. We wish him the best. Tyler Shelton is still completing coursework. He should be completed very soon. Coursework, as we know, has to go through the NCAA clearinghouse. I don’t expect him to be back this week at all. Hopefully, we can get him back before the second week. We are excited about a lot of our guys this summer. They did a great job in academics. Some of those guys did a wonderful job getting A’s and B’s, but a guy I am very excited about is Frankie Herron, defensive lineman. He graduated from LSU. He finished his coursework this summer. We are all excited about Frank. Frank is one of the most likeable guys on the team. We expect him to do great things for us.”

On the new fall camp schedule …
“We are going to meet at 8 a.m. We are going to have a team meeting, a special teams meeting, and we will install that. We are going to have offense and defense for about an hour and 15 minutes. Then, we are going to have a walk through, a one hour walk through, which is going to be special teams, individual. It’s going to be offense and defense instillation. Then, we will run plays against each other in a walkthrough mode, no ball, nothing like that. That’s only an hour. Then, the guys have to have three hours off. They go back to eat, rest. Then, we will come back in the afternoon and we will go through a full practice. We will start meetings at 2:15 p.m. We will practice fast. We will practice short just like we did. Practice in camp will be longer than the season, not much. The first couple of days will not be a lot of hitting. The first couple of days will be a lot of install in the passing game and the pass defense. Then, we put on the pads and do a lot of install versus the run. On Saturday, we will have preseason games. We will treat it just like the NFL. Obviously, we will get ready for a very tough opener against BYU. We will have four preseason games before we play BYU for our opener. We don’t start working on BYU until August 21, which is the first day of school.”

On Arden Key returning to the team …
“It gives me a lot of confidence, I promise you that. He is just an extra ordinary human being. He brings the fire. The team was in there and we were showing them a motivational video, and I think he was the one who was the most fired up. We have to make sure that we don’t push him too fast.”

On Arden Key’s weight …
“I would say that he’s close to 260, maybe a little bit above. We’ve talked about his playing weight around 255.”

On freshmen making the jump from high school to college football…
“I really believe that the guys that come in as mid-year graduates are like vets out there. I’m so happy that the NCAA allowed us to put them on scholarship in the summer and they can come get acclimated to the way we practice with Tommy Moffitt. You can see the guys growing together and jelling with their new teammates and making friends. When you’re in high school and first in line doing the jumping jacks, that’s good, but what happens when you get here and you’re fourth in line? Then you have to compete. The biggest thing is that everybody is a good player. How are you going to compete when the pads and how will you last through camp day in and day out. That’s the mark of a true freshman.”

On determining which freshmen are redshirt guys and who can play as true freshmen…
“It takes a while. Some guys you can see right away that he’s not redshirting. It always depends on the depth and quality at each position. I would like to not redshirt anybody, but we don’t want to burn a redshirt if a guy will only play 10 plays. “

On letting multiple quarterbacks get reps during non-conference games…
“Hopefully we can get a chance where we can build depth and give guys game time experience. Aside from Danny Etling, none of our quarterbacks have game experience. That’s why we’re having preseason games. We’re trying to get them as much game time experience as possible.”

On depth at the tackle position…
“That’s one of the things that I’m really worried about on the offensive line, not the quality, but the depth. We’ve got some young guys like Austin Deculus, Edward Ingram. Lloyd Cushenberry III had a tremendous spring for us. Donavaughn Campbell, he needs to step up. Adrian Magee, we need to see what his status is. Everything is still unknown with him.”

On having the full offseason to prepare the new staff…
“First of all, it is our team. The seniors did a tremendous job last year. We’ve got new leadership. I called several guys today and told them what I expect out of their leadership. We’ve got new leaders in the room. There’s new coaches. We’ve been through a whole recruiting process and spring together. We’ve been through a whole summer. We get to install a new way in which we practice in fall camp. There’s a lot of changes. We have a different offense, a different special teams. It’s Dave Aranda’s second year. To me it feels like everything is new. I’ll say this. We always respect the job Coach Les Miles did. We always respect to job that the coaches before us did and the LSU tradition because there were a lot of things that were done right.”

On how offensive coordinator Matt Canada will handle the quarterback reps…
“We have to get Myles Brennan some reps. We will have a lot more walkthroughs and what we call two spots. Instead of having just one offense go against one defense we might have an offense verse defense here and an offense verse defense there. One day we may put the freshmen together and get them as many reps as we can just to simulate game time situations and see how they perform.”

On the battle at wide receiver…
“D.J. Chark, obviously. Russell Gage had a tremendous spring. Drake Davis needs to come along. He had some great days in the spring, but he needs to be more mature and consistent. Derrick Dillon has got to come in and play for us. Stephen Sullivan had a great spring. Dee Anderson needs to mature. He has a lot of athletic ability he just needs the maturity doing things on a daily basis and I believe he will do that. I am so excited about Racey McMath. He’s big, strong, physical and has a great work ethic. All I’ve done is see him run and he looks fantastic. Mannie Netherly has been with us. We do so many shifts and motions that all of them will have to play. We’ll need a fantastic rotation there.”

On how the cornerback battle is shaping up…
“I feel that we have two great corners in Kary Vincent Jr. and Jontre Kirklin. They haven’t done much yet, but I think they’ll be really good. Greedy (Andraez) Williams did a tremendous job. You’ve got Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II and backing them up with Greedy Williams, Jontre Kirklin and Kary Vincent Jr. I wouldn’t trade away anybody. I think they’re very, very good. Kristian Fulton will be a nickel back and he could be a corner.”

On the nickel back position…
“One of the first things we talked about in the staff meeting is coaching the nickel position. Xavier Lewis can play it Kristian Fulton can play it. Donte Jackson can play it if we want to move him from corner. He’d probably be the best one there. I think Kary Vincent Jr. will be fantastic there. I think those are some guys right now at nickel that we’re looking at very hard.”

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