Though, with the start of fall camp, it has become abundantly clear that it's not just about the personnel coming into Baton Rouge; it's about the many guys walking out of the door.
LSU has generated the most interest this offseason in regards to their newest additions.
After serving as the interim head coach for eight games last season, following the midseason firing of Les Miles, Orgeron has been promoted.
All eyes are on him as he becomes their permanent head coach. This is his first head coaching job since he was fired at Ole Miss back in 2007. In three years there, the Rebels went just 10-25.
Another exciting new edition for the Tigers is offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who has come to try to save a Tiger offense that has a long history of underachieving. They averaged just 9 points in their four 2016 losses.
Canada comes to LSU after turning Pittsburgh into one of the best offenses in the country last season. In his only year there, they averaged 42 points per game.
Though, with the start of fall camp, it has become abundantly clear that it’s not just about the personnel coming into Baton Rouge; it’s about the many guys walking out of the door.
Last week, projected starting right guard Maea Teuhema left the program.
The drama involving his departure began at the start of the week when Orgeron said that Teuhema would not participate in the opening day of fall camp because of “academic stuff.”
Two days later, it was announced that he was indefinitely suspended from the team for breaking team rules.
Later that night, the school was making another announcement—this time that the junior would be leaving the Tigers and looking to transfer to another school. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and USC are all rumored to be possible landing spots for him.
With Teuhema’s departure and the graduation of starters Ethan Pocic and Josh Boutte, an already sparse LSU offensive line just got a little thinner. They are now left with just 11 scholarship linemen.
Just this offseason alone, 10 players have left the program. Five of them were offensive linemen. This includes Teuhema, Chidi Okeke, Andy Dodd, Willie Allen and Seth Stewart.
However, lack of depth due to transfers isn’t a problem restricted to the offensive line for LSU. The wide receiver position has also been gutted in the past two years.
Teuhema’s absence is definitely a blow to the Tigers. He has 21 starts under his belt, and he was able to play both guard and tackle. However, it does present a huge opportunity for Dutchtown alum Lloyd Cushenberry.
The redshirt freshman has been making strides. He carried himself tremendously during the spring, and he was already in the mix for a possible starting position.
Originally, he was regarded as a backup to Will Clapp at Center. Now, with Teuhema gone, he will compete with Donavaughn Campbell for the starting right guard spot.
Cushenberry’s emergence came when he filled in for an injured Clapp at center during the spring. His stellar play made the coaches consider letting him remain starting center and moving Clapp to guard.
For now, it’s looking like K. J. Malone and Toby Weathersby will be the starting tackles, Garrett Brumfield and Cushenberry will be the starting guards and Clapp will start at center.
Of those five, Cushenberry has no experience, and Brumfield’s experience is minimal.
Also, if Cushenberry starts, it brings complications at center. If Clapp were to get hurt, Cushenberry would have to swap spots. With the transfer of Dodd, they have no other centers.
Wide receiver is another paper-thin position for the Tigers.
With the offense being so anemic in the passing game over the years, a laundry list of talented wideouts have bolted from the program.
In addition to losing Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural to the draft, big names like Tyron Johnson, Trey Quinn and Jazz Ferguson have all left Baton Rouge.
That has left D.J. Chark as their most experienced returning receiver, and until his junior season, he had zero career catches. He had a breakout year in 2016, collecting 466 yards and three scores.
Russell Gage is a converted cornerback that only made his first career catches in the regular season finale against Texas A&M last season.
Drake Davis, Derrick Dillon, Donaldsonville alum Stephen Sullivan and Dee Anderson all lack experience, but all will be expected to step up in a big way this season.
The depth is so low that the coaches have moved freshman JaCoby Stevens from safety to wide receiver. Stevens was 2017’s top safety prospect in the nation.
With the receiving corps being shorthanded and LSU having an embarrassment of riches at safety, Orgeron thought the move was a must.
Stevens is not totally new to the position. He did play wideout in high school. So far this spring, Canada has being using Stevens in the slot.