NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
One of the biggest factors in the Tigers building on their success of last season lies within the continuity of the coaching staff and player personnel, especially on offense. Returning coordinator Steve Ensminger and quarterback Joe Burrow, as well as adding Joe Brady as a passing game coordinator is immediately having a positive effect.
"We're spreading the ball around, running our run-pass options and making the right reads," says head coach Ed Orgeron. "I remember going into 7-on-7's. I said, 'Dave (Aranda), what do you think?' He said, 'The quarterback knows exactly where to go with the ball.'"
It's worth noting that as good as Burrow was at the end of last year, he could be that much better now that he's able to get a full off-season of work in wearing purple and gold.
"We're doing a lot of things at the line of scrimmage, letting him check out of plays, letting him handle the offense," says Orgeron. "In a lot of situations, we're going hurry-up. Joe's smart. He can do it. And we're running the football with him. We ran a couple of read options with Joe today. He did a tremendous job."
On the other side of the ball, however, is where most eyes were during this first practice. From newcomers like Derek Stingley Jr. to those returning from injury, like Breiden Fehoko and K'Lavon Chaisson, there were a lot of defensive playerst turning heads. They'll be part of a unit that does return a lot of experience but will have to learn to operate without number 40 in the middle.
"Although Devin (White) was fantastic for us, we've got to move on," says Orgeron. "Jacob Phillips was not out there. A guy that I'm impressed with is Damone Clark. He has come along. He's had an excellent off-season -- big, strong, fast and physical -- and Patrick Queen. I think those guys are going to be pretty good linebackers. I really do."
But once again, as Orgeron said a few times, one of the biggest factors is how far ahead they are as a team and coaching staff right now than they were a year ago. That’s expected to pay off big time next fall.