Odell Beckham Jr. plays role of Johnny Manziel ... and plays it well

Like any offensive player preparing for a game, LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr. watches film of the opposing defense.

Last week, he found himself in the defensive film room, watching the opposing quarterback.

That’s because Beckham mimicked Texas A&M Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at practice during LSU’s open week. He gave the defense a taste of what playing against the elusive and speedy quarterback might be like when No. 18 LSU (7-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) hosts No. 9 Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

He did it so well — not just scrambling but completing long touchdown passes — that some folks are wondering if LSU should try him at quarterback during a game.

“I hope the coaches talk about putting him in wildcat (formation) or something,” fellow receiver Jarvis Landry said. “Just getting him a chance to touch the ball and being able to throw the ball. He can surprisingly throw the ball pretty good.”

Coach Les Miles said last week that Beckham had been impressive enough that “we may have to give him some snaps in the game.”

On Wednesday, he played coy with reporters.

“Um ... I certainly wouldn’t want to spill a piece of strategy, but ... I’m not certain,” he said.

Beckham, a semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, wouldn’t mind.

“I’d love to throw a pass in a game,” he said.

Beckham’s film-watching of Manziel produced the typical jaw-dropping reactions from the junior wideout. He studied the moves in order to replicate them during practice.

Specifically, Beckham watched A&M’s last game, a thumping of Mississippi State in which the QB threw for 446 yards on 30-of-39 passing.

“It’s crazy watching him. Watching him make the plays that he makes is just, you sit back and really just say, ‘Wow,’ ” the receiver said. “He really rolled out all the way left, all the way right, came back and threw it across his body.”

Did he successfully reproduce the moves? “I did it,” Beckham said, “a little bit.”

Heating up

“Fire On The Bayou” will reignite at Tiger Stadium on Saturday.

The yearly football battle in Franklin between St. Mary High and Franklin High is being rekindled this week when the schools’ former stars clash in an SEC showdown.

When LSU right tackle Jerald Hawkins looks up Saturday, he’ll see across the line his former high school rival and current A&M defensive end, Gavin Stansbury. Hawkins, a St. Mary guy, and Stansbury, a former Franklin High standout, will meet as rivals again.

In A&M’s 3-4 defense, Hawkins expects to have to block Stansbury “a few times.” The two aren’t best friends, but do see each other when returning home.

“We don’t text or nothing like that,” Hawkins said.

Stansbury’s three sacks this season are tied for the team lead.

“He’s a good player,” Hawkins said of his former high school and now college rival. “He has the motor going, keeps going. Always had that motor. Great competition to go against.”

‘Tiger Rag,’ ‘Neck’ to return

Keep it clean, kids.

In a movement dubbed “Tradition Matters,” LSU is allowing the Golden Band from Tigerland to play fan favorites “Neck” and “Tiger Rag” starting with Saturday’s game, the school announced Wendesday.

LSU is urging fans, specifically students, not to yell obscenities during the songs. Both were shelved years ago because fans yelled vulgarities in unison during certain parts of each tune.

The university made videos featuring receivers Landry and Beckham telling fans to be respectful, and will distribute “Tradition Matters” stickers and flyers at student gates.

Miles said Wednesday that he’s never heard obscenities, but urged the student section to be mindful.

“There’s a lot of people in that stadium that have to deal with what’s being said,” he said, “but our student section is the best in the country. I would guess they’d give real thought to the feelings of others.”


LSU football radio analyst Doug Moreau will return to the booth for Saturday’s game against A&M after missing the first 10 games of the season because of health matters. ... On Wednesday, Miles said the team his fully healthy. No one on the two-deep is expected to be withheld.