Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - The LSU Tigers will begin fall practice for the 2022 football season on Thursday afternoon. First year head coach Brian Kelly has brought a new culture to the program that the players have shown excitement about.
Since arriving on the LSU campus, Kelly has emphasized accountability, paying attention to the little things that matter and attention to detail. No one has higher expectations than Brian Kelly. He expects to win now.
The team has bought into his system which has developed a very up-beat and a high energy attitude around the practice facility that obviously showed during a successful spring camp and has now carried over into the fall.
Several starting positions have yet to be decided. The competition will be fierce over the next few weeks as players will battle to separate themselves to claim these starting jobs before the season opener against Florida State on September 4th in the Caesars Superdome.
Once again the biggest question mark of this team is the offensive line. During spring camp, Brad Davis mainly worked Cameron Wire at tackle and Miles Frazier at guard on the right side. Tre'Mond Shorts manned the left guard position while monstrous true freshman Will Campbell stepped up at left tackle and seems to have that position locked down. Charles Turner played center at a high level throughout the spring.
However, Anthony Bradford, Marlon Martinez, Garrett Dellinger and Emery Jones will battle for playing time in fall camp. This unit must gel and stay healthy all season long if LSU hopes to be competitive in 2022.
A starting quarterback has yet to be named. From what I witnessed in the spring, I'm predicting that six-year senior Myles Brennan will win the job. A healthy Brennan should return to a stronger, wiser 2020 version of himself who put up Heisman numbers during the first three weeks of that year before suffering a season ending injury against Missouri. LSU's offense is loaded with lethal weapons at the skill positions for Brennan to target.
Redshirt freshman gunslinger Garrett Nussmeier will officially be named the backup. Junior Jayden Daniels who transferred from Arizona State this past offseason, showed inconsistency in his passing skills but is a dangerous weapon with his feet. Look for Kelly to use him in short yardage and goal line situations while true freshman Walker Howard will redshirt.
The running back stable is full of exciting, explosive ball carriers lead by senior John Emery Jr. who showed in the spring he is prime for a huge break out season. Armoni Goodwin and Josh Williams ran hard and showed their talent in the spring as well.
The dark horse of the group may be Penn State transfer Noah Cain. Cain is a Baton Rouge native who is loaded with talent and has the potential to be a game breaker. Tre Bradford adds nice depth at the position
This wide receiver group may be one of the most talented in the country. Kayshon Boutte returns to the LSU lineup healthy and ready to strike fear into SEC defenses.
Jack Bech has moved from tight end to the slot where he belongs. He is a tremendous talent and with defenses concentrating on trying to slow Boutte down, Bech will have the opportunity to develop into a star.
Malik Nabers has size, speed, great hands and loads of talent. Expect Nabors to get his share of the ball.
Jaray Jenkins and Brian Thomas have starter talent and will see playing time. Chris Hilton, true freshman Landon Ibietta and the speedy Kyren Lacy round out this very deep and talented position.
Many feel that the tight end position is a weak spot, but these three young men may surprise everyone throughout the season. Former walk-on Jack Mashburn has established himself as the potential penciled in starter for now. He showed great blocking skills, nice route running and great hands in spring camp and had a nice spring game.
Kole Taylor is a huge target with talent. He also has nice blocking skills and has turned into a reliable receiver. He will see several snaps.
Mason Taylor is a true freshman out of St. Thomas Aquinas High in Florida who has tremendous pass catching ability, while Nick Storz returned to the team despite thinking he may need to medically retire after suffering a potential career threatening injury.
Who will replace Cade York who most consider to be the best kicker in LSU history? Enter Nathan Dibert, the second ranked kicker in the 2022 recruiting class. I'm sure that Brian Polian is hoping the three star, true freshman prospect from Hartland, Michigan will come in and win the job before the season begins.
Other kickers on the roster are Ezekeal Mata and Trey Finison who transferred in from Northwestern. Mata showed
improvement during spring camp while Finison is known more as a kickoff specialist.
Punter should be solid as Notre Dame transfer Jay Bramblett has been selected to the Ray Guy Award watch list.
The defensive line is once again a strength. LSU defensive coordinator Matt House will most likely go with a 3-4 hybrid type of lineup.
Jaquelin Roy will play the nose, while Maason Smith and Ali Gaye will both play end in this formation. Missouri transfer Mekhi Wingo, Jacobian Guillory and freshman Tygee Hill offer nice depth in the middle.
The Tigers are also deep and talented at defensive end. Saivion Jones, Zavier Carter, Quency Wiggins, Phillip Webb,
Bryce Langston and Soni Fonua all add quality depth with some able to play inside or out on the line.
Mike Jones Jr. and Greg Penn III, each held the starting inside linebacker positions throughout spring camp. Both have shown they can play at a high level. Micah Baskerville has loads of experience and will continue to contribute.
BJ Ojulari will rush the passer from an outside linebacker position, occasionally dropping into coverage. Kolbe Fields and West Weeks were both very impressive in the spring.
Regardless of who starts, expect Matt House to rotate the linebackers on game day.
LSU hit the transfer portal to help fill huge holes in the secondary. Derek Stingley Jr. and Cordale Flott are both in the NFL while Eli Ricks transferred to Alabama.
Transfers Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Mekhi Graner and Joe Foucha were the hype of the secondary during the spring, while
Jay Ward showed his leadership skills and solid secondary play. Matthew Langlois is a safety with great instincts, a physical tackler and has a nose for the football.
Overall the depth of the secondary has shaped up nicely. Jordan Toles, Greg Brooks, Derrick Davis and Sage Ryan all have the talent to shine.
So the big questions that need to be answered over the next few weeks before the season kicks off will be:
**Who will be the starting quarterback?
**The play of the offensive line?
**Will the linebackers play consistent and at a high level?
**Can a young, talented secondary continue on the DBU tradition
**Will a kicker step up with consistency and ice water in his veins to calmly make the big kicks in big games?
It will be a fun and interesting fall camp as we head into the 2022 LSU football season. We will provide you with coverage on media days throughout the August preseason schedule.