When LSU holds its first scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday, junior Lamin Barrow is expected to line up as the starting weakside linebacker.
When Barrow’s career started two years ago, he lined up as a starter in the season opener against North Carolina because Ryan Baker was sidelined by a broken jaw. But he has started just one other time since.
“I kind of expected to start the rest of the season,” Barrow said. “But you’ve got to wait your turn sometimes. I had a lot to learn and lot to improve on. The main thing I learned is patience. I feel my time is finally here.”
Barrow said defensive coordinator/linebackers coach John Chavis tells him every day that he can still lose the starting position, which drives him to work as hard as he can each day.
The Tigers’ only returning starter at linebacker is Kevin Minter, who played in all 14 games and started 11 in the middle last season.
“Everybody looks to Kevin to keep us together,” Barrow said.
Barrow and Minter are joined on the first unit by Tahj Jones on the strong side. All three linebackers came in together in 2009 and redshirted that first year.
“Having the three of us on the field at the sime time and grinding it out together is a dream come true,” Barrow said.
Luke Muncie is in the thick of the mix at linebacker also, as he can play both weak and strong side.
“Tahj Jones, Kevin Minter, Lamin Barrow and Luke Muncie are the guys that have played a role here,” Chavis said. “Beyond those four, we won’t have a guy that has taken a snap. Today it is not etched in stone what guys will be giving us some playing time.
“Tahj Jones is a consistent playmaker. Minter played half the time last year. He did a very adequate job, he has improved his game. He is becoming a leader for us, he is a physical guy that can run. Lamin Barrow and Luke Muncie are both capable.”
LSU has six true freshman linebackers competing for the opportunity to provide depth.
“The competition is crazy right now,” Barrow said. “It pulls us all together. It makes us all better at the end of the day. There’s room for everybody to play. The coaches don’t want the same three guys playing every snap.”
Barrow said he knows his experience — he has played in 25 games — doesn’t guarantee him anything because he has seen how talented the freshmen are.
“I think I bring a little speed and tenacity,” Barrow said. “I’m a real physical linebacker. I’m working on my reaction a little bit. When I drop into coverage, I’m trying to react to the ball a little faster. When I react and make the tackle, if I react a little faster, I might make an interception.”
Fan day is Saturday
LSU will hold its annual fan day from 3-6p.m. Saturday at the Maravich Assembly Center and the Carl Maddox Field House. The Tigers football team will sign autographs and meet with fans from 4 to 6 p.m.
Head coach Les Miles, the offense and the offensive coaching staff will be in the Maddox Field House, and the defense, defensive staff and special teams will be in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The LSU soccer and volleyball teams will sign autographs from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Maravich Center, while the LSU cheerleaders and Mike the Tiger will meet with fans for autographs and pictures from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Maddox Field House and the Maravich Assembly Center.