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The Sports Troll: What to make from the scrimmages?

As we’ve talked about before in this blog, LSU practices are closed to the media this summer.

So, quite frankly, no one really has much of a definitive idea of what’s going on at camp – except for what’s told to us by players and coaches in press conferences.

And that’s not much.

But the Tigers do have a couple scrimmages under their belts – days that coach Ed Orgeron said are acting somewhat as preseason games for the team as they get ready for the season.

We’re, of course, not able to see these scrimmages, but we do get stats after they’re played.

If we are to believe the stats released to media, a few conclusions can be made about how LSU’s camp is going.

1. Danny Etling is not a lock to start the entire season – Statistically, Myles Brennan has gone stride for stride with Etling in the first two scrimmages, which isn’t all that telling because it’s an incredibly small sample size. But reading between the lines will indicate just how big of a deal this actually is. Orgeron has gone out of his way to praise Brennan so far in camp – every chance he’s gotten. Yes, he’s always also prefaced his comments by saying that Etling was still the team’s starter. But they’re not giving Brennan all these reps to have him be a non-factor for LSU. The coaches think Brennan is a star and that he will be a program-changing quarterback.

2. JaCoby Stevens can play … anywhere – Everyone knows by now that LSU has moved JaCoby Stevens from safety to wide receiver to help offset a little bit of thin area in the Tigers’ depth chart. Stevens is gifted with the ball in his hands, but the move still came as a bit of a shock to some because he was ranked as the No. 1 safety in the country out of high school. Two scrimmages in, Stevens is beginning to show his versatility on the football field – letting everyone know that he can be an immediate impact player as a true freshman on offense. Stevens had a nice second scrimmage for LSU, serving as one of the leaders of the team in both catches and yards. With LSU a little depleted there, we fully expect him to play quite a bit as a freshman.

3. LSU’s secondary is likely loaded – Through two scrimmages, no LSU quarterback has made mincemeat of the Tigers’ secondary, which is likely a pretty good clue that the team’s defense can be really, really good again in 2017. Both Etling and Brennan have had decent yardage numbers, but neither player has been able to be efficient in completion percentage. In the last scrimmage, the defense also picked off Etling twice – their bright spots for the day.

4. Depth being built at running back – Derrius Guice is LSU’s A1 halfback. Hell, Guice is so good that he’s probably A2 and A3, as well. But camp stats show that the team does have depth at the position – a trademark of LSU teams for the past 10-15 years. Darrel Williams has been getting good work in camp, as has Nick Brossette. Both guys should be in line to get a carry or two throughout games as Guice needs a blow.

Photo: DIG File.

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