By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA: We would finally get a peek at the 2021 LSU Tigers as they would end their spring football camp with the annual National L Club spring game in Tiger Stadium, with the Purple team defeating the White team, 23-14.
It was a typical spring football game with vanilla play calling on offense against a very basic defensive attack.
With a shortage of healthy running backs available, the Tigers took to the air often which lead to a big game for both Kayshon Boutte and Jontre Kirklin.
Boutte would have a monster first half catching seven balls for 131 yards and one touchdown. He would finish with 11 catches for 162 yards with one touchdown on the day. "We showed out today," Boutte said. "We could improve in some areas, but altogether we did good as a unit."
Kirklin ended up playing for both teams. He quietly put together an outstanding day, finishing the game with 16 receptions for 209 yards with two touchdowns.
The quarterback battle for this team is far from over, although both Myles Brennan and Max Johnson showed much more consistency then TJ Finley and Garrett Nussmeier.
Johnson seemed to be the more efficient out of the group as he would finish the day going 11-17 for 180 yards, with two touchdowns passes.
Brennan would go 12-20 for 116 yards, with one touchdown pass. Brennan just didn't seem to be as sharp
as he was last season before the injury. He was off target a couple of times and his 39 yard touchdown pass was more of a jump ball, Hail-Mary type of throw that Boutte adjusted to making a great catch. At times Brennan would also hold the ball to long while receivers were breaking open.
TJ Finley started the game with some nice throws, but would continue to show flashes on inconsistent play that plagued him at times last season. Poor decisions lead to turnovers. He would finish the game going 10-19, 84 yards, with two interceptions.
Garrett Nussmeier is a talented young man, but has no shot at winning the starting job in 2021. He has a lot to learn. Orgeron wasted to many snaps with the young freshmen that could have been used to help decide the race between the other three quarterbacks. Nussmeier simply needs to take a redshirt this season. He has a future in the purple and gold. He would finish going 15-25 for 132 yards, with one touchdown pass and one interception.
"I thought we gave the quarterbacks a very fair shot today." said Coach Orgeron. "Each one of them had a shot with the 1's. I think that when we come back to camp, we are going to have to designate a certain amount of reps for certain guys. We will give the first and second guy more reps. I think that is going to be a process during camp."
The Running back position has been very thin all spring camp long due to nagging injuries keeping John Emery and others out. Only two backs suited up and played in the ball game. Ty Davis-Price played with the first team offense, while Nick Demas played the entire game for the Purple squad.
Davis-Price has a very productive game as he finished with 81 yards on 15 carries, highlighted by a 28 yard burst on the first play of the 2nd quarter.
Demas played hard all game long for the Purple, gaining 18 yards on 7 carries.
Koy Moore lined up in the back field for a few plays late in the 4th quarter, carrying the ball twice for 15 yards.
The starting offensive line unit had a strong showing in the contest. Their pass protection was stellar through most of the game even though they did give up three sacks. They did a great job of run blocking, opening up nice holes for Davis-Price, however they still struggled getting to get a push on short yardage.
The 2nd unit gave up five sacks and needs to continue to improve before the season begins.
On the 4th play of the game Max Johnson dropped back to throw and found a very wide open Kayshon Boutte in the secondary for a 45 yard completion. The play quickly brought back flashback memories of the nightmare breakdowns by the secondary last season. However, the secondary ended up being the surprise of the ball game.
"Our secondary is probably the most improved area on our football team." Orgeron said. "Daronte Jones and Corey Raymond have done a tremendous job."
Derek Stingley Jr, was Derek Stingley Jr., playing flawless coverage, finishing the game with three tackles, and one interception.
Ray Jones made a great interception, returning it 39 yards.
But it was Dwight McGlothern who stood out making play after play, taking advantage of Eli Ricks being inactive for the game. He finished with four tackles, one TFL, and four pass breakups.
Jay Ward played very well at free safety as he ended up with 7 tackles, one interception, and broke up a pass.
The linebackers were solid. Jared Small was everywhere, finishing the game with 14 tackles, 1.5 TFL, and had an interception that he returned for 34 yards. “I’m proud of Small, man,” said Damone Clark. “That’s a guy that comes to the building every day. He’s ready to work. He’s always waited for his time. And today was his day to show everybody what he can do. I couldn’t be more proud of Jared.”
Damone Clark showed much improvement as he had a strong game totaling 12 tackles on the day. Clark has also stepped up to become a huge vocal leader on the team.
Josh White had a good game as he showed off his speed on the field today finishing with five tackles, while Antoine Sampah finished with three tackles and an interception.
The defensive front will be a force to be reckoned with. This unit is big, strong, experienced, and has depth.
Jaquelin Roy finished the game with four tackles, three TFL, and lead the team with three sacks.
Neil Farrell had two tackles and recorded one sack on the day.
Glen Logan had two tackles and deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Jacob Guillory had a tackle along with one TFL...
Eric Taylor finished with two tackles, one TFL, and one sack.
BJ Ojulari picked up where he left off at last season finishing with three tackles, two TFL, two sacks, while constantly putting pressure on the quarterback.
Maason Smith didn't play much due to a nagging injury.
Special teams were solid. Cade York went 2-2 on field goal attempts, hitting from 50 and 47 yards out. Preston Stafford would go 1-2 on field goal attempts, hitting a 27 yarder, while missing one from 48 yards out.
Both punters, Avery Atkins and Peyton Todd did a great job in the ball game. They both finished with high averages, putting nice hang time on their kicks, and downed four punts in the red zone combined.
Both teams competed hard and played with intensity for the entire ball game. It was a successful spring game that added a confident ending to a productive camp. The biggest positive of the day was finishing the game with no injuries.
Not all of the pieces to this puzzle have arrived yet. The Tigers have several talented freshmen coming in for the beginning of fall practice who will challenge for playing time and make this team better.
Now we wait on the start of the 2021 football season... September 4th will be here before we know it...
Head Coach Ed Orgeron
WR - Kayshon Boutte
LB - Damone Clark
OL - Austin Deculus
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
Photo Below By: David Chivatero