BATON ROUGE, La. -- Taking into account Ed Orgeron’s reputation as one of the most effective recruiters in college football, Les Miles said Monday that it made perfect sense to tab Orgeron as LSU’s new recruiting coordinator.
"[He is] an experienced guy, a guy who really knows how to recruit, has always recruited well personally," Miles said Monday evening after the Tigers completed their first practice of the spring. "But now given an opportunity again to lead, have some extra responsibility, he is fired up for that, I guarantee you."
Orgeron now holds a recruiting coordinator title for the fourth time, having served in that role twice at USC and once at Tennessee. He was one of three current LSU assistants who ranked among 247Sports' top 20 recruiters in the 2016 class. Wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig, who was at Auburn at the time, came in at No. 4 and special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto was No. 6. Orgeron was No. 17.
Orgeron takes over the position from former running backs coach Frank Wilson, who accepted a head coaching position at the University of Texas at San Antonio in January.
Though he directly addressed Orgeron’s new role, Miles spoke generally when asked about the three-year extension that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will reportedly soon receive. Cameron’s original contract with LSU was to expire at the end of this month.
Miles said "maintaining some consistency in teaching" will be advantageous for the Tigers and that "I think it’s nice to keep those guys."
Position changes: There are a number of position changes to watch, and not just with the linebackers who will handle multiple assignments under new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Speaking of linebackers, early enrollee Devin White made a position change even before participating in his first practice as a Tiger. LSU listed White as a running back on national signing day, but he and the coaching staff decided that inside linebacker was a better fit -- apparently well before Monday’s practice.
"[The coaches] went around the room, we voted, we talked about his skills. We talked about his lower-body skills and his upper-body skills and we talked about his contact," Miles said. "And really to be honest with you, he texted me and he said, 'Hey listen, I was thinking maybe if I played linebacker I could get on the field sooner.' I said, 'That might be true.' And so what we did is we gave him an opportunity, and I think he’s doing really a lot with it.
Aranda also told the New Orleans Times-Picayune recently that safety Corey Thompson will play outside linebacker, although Thompson was not in attendance at Monday’s practice.
Cornerback Russell Gage and Tony Upchurch, who is listed on the roster at fullback, both lined up at receiver on Monday.
Finally, Jeff Grimes seems to be following his normal trend and working multiple players at different spots on the offensive line.
The offensive tackle spots will be of particular interest this spring because the Tigers lost both starters, Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins. Miles said sophomores Maea Teuhema and Toby Weathersby will be among the contenders at those positions.
Practice absences: Miles said about 10 to 12 players missed Monday’s practice for a variety of reasons, from surgeries that will limit them this spring or keep them out of practice altogether (including receiver Travin Dural, center Ethan Pocic, safety John Battle and cornerback Kevin Toliver) to others who have "have issues in some way -- not disciplinary, but academic, many, in nature."
Among the absentees were Thompson, running back Derrius Guice, quarterback Anthony Jennings and offensive lineman Jevonte Domond.
Miles said the issues that kept the players out of Monday’s workout were "nothing that will prohibit them from returning for the fall."