Five key takeaways from LSU’s spring game

Five key takeaways from LSU’s spring game

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For the first time ever, Brian Kelly led LSU down victory hill.

It wasn’t a real game, but one could argue it was the first real moment of Kelly’s tenure.

It can be hard to piece together information from spring games, you still have to keep a holistic view of previous knowledge.

All of the eyes in Baton Rouge today were on the quarterbacks. LSU fans got to see Jayden Daniels and Walker Howard in Tiger Stadium for the first time.

In the case of Daniels, it seems like he has really progressed over the course of the spring as he has continued to get comfortable in Baton Rouge. He made some big-time throws, including big plays to Brian Thomas Jr and Jack Bech.

All four quarterbacks were responsible for at least one touchdown drive.

The wide receivers and defensive linemen flashed their talent today, and those two groups are expected to be the strength heading into the fall.

LSU was without star receiver Kayshon Boutte as he still works to get back after his 2021 was cut short due to injury. Garrett Dellinger and Marlon Martinez were also absent, and they are two guys that could compete for time this fall.

With all that said, here are five key takeaways from LSU’s spring game.

As expected, Brian Kelly is involved with the offense

LSU Football held its first spring practice of the season under new Head Coach Brian Kelly. Thursday, March 24, 2022
Lsu Spring Practice 03 24 22

Throughout the game, we saw Brian Kelly talking to the quarterbacks in-between plays, standing directly behind the offense on the field.

This isn’t a surprise, it was always assumed Kelly would be involved, but it really seems like he is taking a hands-on approach.

The offensive staff, aside from Mike Denbrock, also features Joe Sloan and Cortez Hankton, two guys that had coordinator titles at their previous jobs. So unless you’re in those meetings, it’s hard to tell what the dynamic is.

Kelly could just be involving himself now to ensure a smooth install or this could be the long-term plan, either way, it is clear he will play a big role in the offense.

Bradford is the number two back right now

LSU running back Tre Bradford (8) runs during an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

The running back room is crowded with names, but not necessarily proven players.

John Emery seems like the clear number one right now and could be the closest thing LSU has to a feature back, but Tre Bradford seems poised to be the second guy.

Bradford began his career at LSU, transferred to Oklahoma, then ended back up at LSU. He was one of the top running backs in the class of 2020 and a top 20 player in the state of Texas.

Bradford got plenty of time with the first-team offense and was the first back to take the field on Saturday. Bradford also got first-team reps this spring when Emery was out with an ankle injury.

Bradford can be a nice change of pace back that defenses have to worry about in the running game and the passing game.

QB is a mystery, but Nussmeier looks good

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – APRIL 17: Garrett Nussmeier #5 of the LSU Tigers in action during the spring game at Tiger Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Brian Kelly has been careful not to reveal anything about the QB competition this spring. At this point, we probably won’t gain any real insight unless anyone transfers or until a starter is finally named.

Over the course of the spring, Garrett Nussmeier has emerged as a real contender in the QB battle.

Nussmeier made some nice plays on Saturday and now has some experience to go along with his talent. This is more than a two-man battle and there was more proof of that on Saturday.

The defensive line is as advertised

LSU defensive lineman Maason Smith (0) tackles Mississippi State running back Dillon Johnson (23) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Starkville, Miss. LSU won 25-23. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

This isn’t a takeaway, more so a reminder. LSU is loaded with talent upfront.

On Saturday, multiple guys on the defensive line flashed their ability. As the SEC Network broadcast pointed out, the defensive coaching staff feels like they have plenty of reliable options.

We know DC Matt House wants to be multiple, but not every blitz can be shown or done in the spring game.

The pass rush will be a strength of this team in the fall.

Will Campbell is the starter at left tackle

Jan 4, 2022; Houston, TX, USA; LSU Tigers interim head coach Brad Davis reacts during the third quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats during the 2022 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Again, this isn’t new, but it’s a relevant confirmation.

It’s hard to gauge offensive line play in a spring game since contact is limited, but Will Campbell held his own and the staff clearly likes his chances at left tackle.

Campbell has been at that spot for a couple of weeks now, with nobody else seeming to challenge for first-team reps. LSU might have something special brewing with Campbell. The Tigers haven’t had an elite player at that position since La’el Collins.

At another contested position, Charles Turner took the first-team reps at center, just as he has for a few weeks now.

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