BATON ROUGE, La. — For the past couple years, “We hardly knew ye” could have been engraved on a sign hanging above the LSU wide receivers meeting room. Or the door to the room should have been a revolving one.
From the end of the 2015 season until last December, a total of 5 receivers transferred out of the program — Kevin Spears (Jacksonville State), John Diarse (TCU), Trey Quinn (SMU), Tyron Johnson (Oklahoma State) and Jazz Ferguson (Northwestern State). Two of those players moved down to the FCS level, which is not unusual. But in the other cases, guys were specifically departing for offensive schemes that were more receiver-friendly.
One noticeable byproduct of Ed Orgeron’s hire of offensive coordinator Matt Canada is that the revolving door should finally shut.
“It completely did a 180,” said senior receiver D.J. Chark. “Guys don’t have time to complain about not playing, because you’re playing now.”
In reality, that process began last season when Orgeron took over as interim head coach and gave his position coaches more autonomy.
“[Former wide receivers] Coach [Dameyune] Craig made sure guys without experience had experience for this year because he knew Travin [Dural] and possibly Malachi [Dupre] was going to leave,” Chark said. “Now with this offense, it helps. Because even if they saw playing time just blocking, they know what it’s going to be like playing at Tiger Stadium.”
Other than Chark, no one in LSU’s receiving corps has more than 5 career catches. But players like Derrick Dillon, Dee Anderson, Drake Davis and Russell Gage will get plenty of opportunities to increase that mark moving forward.
“A lot of these guys haven’t had much experience, so it’s good that we can all learn this offense together,” Chark said. “They’re making the most of it. Guys are making great plays. Gage, Dillon, Drake Davis. Those guys are learning this offense and embracing it as theirs.”
It’s pretty much impossible for players not to feel engaged since everyone has multiple responsibilities.
“Everybody plays basically every position because there’s so many shifts. You could be outside and end up inside,” Chark said. “So you have to know everything.”
Dillon is one player who has been fired up about what it would be like to play in Canada’s offense since Day 1.
“The next day I watched film and I said, ‘Oh yeah, I like this offense,’” Dillon said.
Starting with the spring game Saturday (8 p.m. ET, SEC Network), it should be easy to see why that’s the case.
“I just like how he spreads the ball around,” Dillon said. “Receivers get touches. Tight ends get touches. Everyone gets touches.”
And that revolving door gets replaced.
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