Football Notebook: LSU enters its first week of games of the season | Sports

We are now less than a week away from LSU football starting its season. At Brian Kelly’s first-week news conference as LSU head coach, he gave some updates on the team as they prepare to open the season against Florida State on Sunday.

Some questions have been answered, some will have to wait until game time on Sunday. These are the conclusions of today’s press conference.

The quarterback remains unclear

Throughout fall training and especially at the end of it, some theorized that whenever a decision was made, Kelly and the coaching staff would keep it a secret to give themselves an advantage against the Seminoles on Sunday. That was confirmed by Kelly.

When asked about the quarterback situation, he said they finally made a decision, but would keep it under wraps until Sunday’s game. That gives them an advantage, as the Seminoles now have to prepare two game plans instead of one because Daniels and Nussmeier’s playing styles are different.

“I think it’s a tactical advantage for us not to announce it,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t help us to give away our parts.”

Even though there is a named starting quarterback, the competition is not over. Kelly describes the two quarterbacks as 1A and 1B, rather than first and second. He believes that fact will keep both players motivated to keep improving, as if the starter deviates or the substitute improves, there could still be a change.

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The decision was made on Saturday, which means that the race has reached the limit.

“They’re going to be very committed because they know how close they are to playing every play,” Kelly said of the substitute.

While we can only speculate on who will be the quarterback on Sunday, coaching staff taking a strategic approach to the information they choose to release seems like a good sign for the team.

Clarity on the offensive line

One of the biggest questions surrounding the team heading into the season was the offensive line. Those questions were spearheaded by the hole left in the center, which was the first position Kelly addressed when discussing the offensive line.

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“The lynchpin of the decision on the offensive line started and ended with the center position,” Kelly said. “Once we got comfortable with Garrett Dellinger in the center position, everything else fell into place.”

Dellinger took almost all of the first-team reps at center during fall camp, so his inclusion in the starting lineup isn’t a surprise. What was more up in the air was how the rest of the starting offensive line would shape up, and Kelly made that clear, too.

“We think Bradford at guard and Frazier at guard and Wire and Frazier at guard and Wire and Campbell at tackle give us the best opportunity with those five guys,” Kelly said.

The inclusion of Campbell, Frazier and Bradford isn’t too surprising, but Wire is a somewhat latecomer. He was mainly taking reps from the second team during the first part of camp until he started to emerge at right tackle later on. That left Tre’Mond Shorts out of the starting lineup and had Bradford move to right guard to make room for the experienced Wire. Shorts are still expected to play a role and he’s someone Kelly mentioned specifically in regards to depth on the offensive line.

“Tre’Mond Shorts will be in the mix, will get a chance to play,” Kelly said.

Decisions made on the kicker

Special teams were a big rotation area for LSU this offseason as it lost its starting position kicker, punt and kickoff specialist. Kelly made it clear earlier in camp that Jay Bramblett will handle punting duties, and today he announced that Damian Ramos will handle spot kicking duties for LSU.

“I think Damian Ramos will start in the field goal and extra point position,” Kelly said.

Ramos, a redshirt freshman from Baltimore, Maryland, was seen managing field goals and extra points during the latter part of camp. He won the job over Ezekeal Mata, Nathan Dibert and Trey Finnison. The competition for a kickoff specialist is still ongoing, with all four seemingly in the mix.

“I think we’re still in the process of making a decision on kickoffs,” Kelly said. “It’s extremely competitive there, we think that decision will probably be made here in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

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Finnison is the only one of the group with kickoff experience in college, tallying 36 kickoffs in three years at Northwestern. Kelly and staff have given no real leads on this position, so the job still appears to be available.

Additional Notes: Situation of wide receivers and running backs

LSU is likely to field a full wide receiver room on Sunday, with Jack Bech recently returning to action and Malik Nabers expected to do the same after not dressing on Saturday. That means there will be plenty of talent available on the bench for their first game.

Fall Camp revealed just how deep the reception room is, and according to Kelly, they’ll be looking to frequently rotate the guys in and out to utilize whatever they have. Along with the projected top three of Kayshon Boutte, Bech and Nabers, Kelly cited Jaray Jenkins, Brian Thomas Jr. and Kyren Lacy as guys likely to contribute Sunday, and each of those players will have their impressive moments during camp.

“It gives us a good rotation and keeps [our] cool guys,” Kelly said. “Seven or eight guys is what you’re going to see playing for us at receiver.”

As for running backs, John Emery Jr. is still expected to miss the first two games of the season. When asked, Kelly gave another cryptic response, adding that he couldn’t go into detail.

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“John has done everything that would allow him to have a good reputation in the football program, but I have things that are not available.It’s not my control as far as who I get to play and that’s not something I can comment on,” Kelly said.

As it is, Noah Cain and Armoni Goodwin will remain the top two running backs against Florida State and Southern, and Josh Williams will likely get some touches as well. It’s unclear if the rotation will extend beyond that.

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