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LSU spring reset: What we've learned as Tigers approach midway point

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU ended its sixth practice of the spring with a 50-play scrimmage prior to taking this week off for spring break. With coach Les Miles' Tigers near the midway point of the spring -- they have eight more practices and the April 16 spring game to go -- here is a look at what has happened thus far:

Quarterback battle continues, minus one contender: Prior to spring practice, conventional wisdom placed Brandon Harris and Purdue transfer Danny Etling as the leading contenders for the starting quarterback job. Senior Anthony Jennings made that outcome even more likely when he decided to transfer early in the spring.

Redshirt freshman Justin McMillan and signee Lindsey Scott will also compete, but this still looks like a two-man battle -- with Harris playing the leading role.

"I'm taking all the first-team reps and this is the first spring where I've done that," Harris said last week. "I'm just more confident, I guess, and I guess the guys are familiar with hearing one voice. So it's just been an exciting spring so far."

However, Miles indicated after the scrimmage that LSU's passing game is still not where it needs to be. Even if QB is Harris' job to lose, it's still no guarantee he will remain the starter throughout the 2016 season.

Linebacker still most intriguing position: LSU's only experienced linebacker Kendell Beckwith hasn't participated in the last several practices after tweaking his knee -- he expects to be back next week once the Tigers return from spring break -- so new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has not had much of an opportunity to see his top personnel work together at the position.

Donnie Alexander and Devin Voorhies were the top inside linebackers in the most recent portion of practice that was open to the media. However, the ILB who has generated the most buzz is early enrollee Devin White.

Initially expected to start his career at running back, White has been at linebacker throughout the spring, and both Miles and Aranda have recently expressed excitement about his potential.

Duke Riley, converted safety Corey Thompson and early enrollee Michael Divinity are among Aranda's options at outside linebacker, with Riley indicating that several players are capable of playing both inside and outside.

Several in running at offensive tackle: In keeping with his offseason tradition, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes has experimented with several combinations as he looks for two new starters at offensive tackle.

He seems close to making a decision, but nothing is set in stone yet. For now, though, sophomores Maea Teuhema and Toby Weathersby look like Grimes' leading contenders at left and right tackle, respectively.

Teuhema started 11 games at left guard last season and has worked with K.J. Malone and Chidi Okeke at tackle this spring. Weathersby is competing with George Brown, among others, on the right side.

Teuhema and Weathersby said several linemen are working at both guard and tackle. while others are practicing at both tackle positions -- all of which has been a trend under Grimes.

Weathersby said that his first career start -- last season at Ole Miss while senior right tackle Vadal Alexander sat out with an injury -- boosted his confidence because he held up well on the road against an SEC team.

"That actually made my confidence level go from low to high because I played against another SEC team and I know now I can go out and just play and be myself and have fun," Weathersby said.

One wild card is senior Ethan Pocic, out for spring while recovering from offseason surgery. Pocic could remain the starting center, but Grimes might also give him at a look at one of the tackle spots during preseason camp.

The D-line is fine: Miles singled out senior Christian LaCouture and sophomore Arden Key after last week's scrimmage, adding that the defensive line "is playing pretty good."

Key has the physical tools to be a standup outside linebacker/end in Aranda's 3-4 scheme, and that role will suit him perfectly after a strong freshman season.

It will be interesting to see which personnel Aranda deploys at nose -- LaCouture is one candidate -- as the line will be a strength. With LaCouture, Davon Godchaux, Frank Herron, Greg Gilmore and hybrid players Lewis Neal and Key, Ed Orgeron's group should be a strength.

Don't worry about Leonard Fournette: Anytime a Heisman Trophy contender misses practice -- even in the spring -- it's somewhat newsworthy.

LSU running back Fournette missed one practice last Tuesday with what LSU said was a minor calf injury, but he was back in time for the scrimmage. In fact, Miles said Fournette broke a 50-yard run in limited action. That was surely welcome news for Tigers fans who fretted over Fournette's brief absence.