With plenty of intrigue surrounding this year's squad, Saturday's spring game gave LSU Tigers fans at Tiger Stadium a glimpse of what's to come in 2018.
LSU went 9-4 with a Citrus Bowl appearance in Ed Orgeron's first full season as coach. Now, the squad will have to find a way to replace a handful of starters, including at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. In other words, there will be new faces at each of the offensive skill positions.
Having numerous spots up for grab meant the spring game carried importance—although the 28-27 victory by the Purple squad did not have much significance in the big picture.
Early on, sophomore wideout Justin Jefferson opened some eyes with a slick one-handed catch and took it all the way to the house for a 94-yard score. Photographer Tre'von Ware had a great view of the play:
The Tigers also had a good look at the catch:
Freshman quarterback Lowell Narcisse, whom 247Sports rated as a 4-star recruit, certainly didn't mind seeing a short pass wind up padding his stats a bit. But he would have more opportunities to show off his arm, as the Advocate's Ross Dellenger noted:
On the grab, redshirt junior Derrick Dillon did a great job of adjusting to the jump ball, making an athletic move to haul in the pass. He may not have found the end zone on the play, but he put the Purple team in position to score.
LSU fans may have been hit by nostalgia when junior running back Lanard Fournette, the younger brother of Jacksonville Jaguars star Leonard Fournette, found the end zone late in the first have to get the Purple on the board.
Narcisse wasn't the only one trying to grab the starting quarterback spot, though. Sophomore Myles Brennan and junior Justin McMillan also wanted to make a good impression at the showcase. Here's how each signal-caller fared in the opening half, per Dellenger and NOLA.com's Andrew Lopez:
McMillan had the most success moving the ball consistently, while Narcisse used big plays to his advantage.
For those wondering, the spring showcase did little to declare a winner in the quarterback competition. One could argue McMillan, who found the end zone with both his arm and legs, had the best showing. But Narcisse and Brennan also had their moments.
Coach Orgeron told the media after the game, via The Advocate, that the quarterback competition will continue past spring football:
While all eyes were on Fournette, Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the backfield, freshman Tae Provens closed out the third quarter by showing off his evasive speed with a 28-yard touchdown. But not to be outdone, Edwards-Helaire—who made a strong case for the No. 1 spot—responded by showing off some of his moves on a first-down run.
Dellenger provided a look at the final stats:
Of course, a quarterback and running back can only be as good as their offensive line. The Tigers have to continue to improve at keeping pressure off the quarterback, whoever it may be. Even if it was just a spring game, there were protection issues. Then again, the O-line was facing an experienced defense that gives opposing offenses headaches.
It was tough to get a good read on the receiving corps as well. Jefferson and Dillon turned heads with standout plays, but there were a number of drops in this game to go with the explosive plays.
There's still plenty of time between now and kickoff on Sept. 2 for players to earn starting spots. However, Orgeron had to have been impressed by some of the performances he saw on Saturday.