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Weekend observations: Loranger, U-High

9/10/2012

I'll have a report about Friday's Loranger-U-High game in Tuesday's From the Road feature. But I wanted to share some additional thought's about Loranger's 26-21 win against U-High on Friday night. The game featured one LSU commit and a bevy of Tiger targets, and that amount of star power certainly did not disappoint. First thing's first: what a night for 2013 commit Jeryl Brazil (Loranger, La./Loranger).

1. Maybe Brazil should play offense after all: Brazil spent the early part of his recruitment as an athlete -- a tweener stuck between wide receiver and cornerback. That changed when he made an impressive showing at The Opening this summer, and ESPN scouts listed him as a cornerback and bumped him into the top 60 prospects in the ESPN 150. It makes sense that such a speedy player would wind up in one of the most athletic positions on the field.

But after watching Brazil dazzle against one of the state's best teams, it's hard to feel so sure. Brazil was a threat to go the distance every time he touched the ball -- which was every snap, as he played quarterback. The senior is also a track star for Loranger, and while it's easy to write off track speed on the football field, that's not the case here. It takes Brazil about a step and a half to reach his top speed, and if he gets two to three yards of space to run he's a liability to score a touchdown from any spot on the field. He did just that three times against the Cubs -- from as far away as 69 and 70 yards.

It's tantalizing to think what that kind of speed could do for LSU's offense, both spread out at wide receiver and lined up in the backfield for occasional carries. Brazil could be the same type of home run threat as former running back Trindon Holliday, except with a bigger, more durable body and better hands.

2. Loranger vs. U-High lived up to the hype; Brazil vs. Williams did not: The game itself was fantastic. Loranger took a late lead, then surrendered it by allowing U-High to return a fumble for a touchdown. The Wolves rallied to once again regain the lead, and the Cubs' last-gasp drive fell short.

But the game within the game -- the meeting of two of the state's best players in Brazil and Tim Williams (Baton Rouge, La./LSU Laboratory) -- didn't generate many fireworks. Williams didn't even take the field for the Cubs' first two series, as he sat out for "team reasons." And oftentimes the Wolves simply ran their offense to the opposite side of the field from the country's No. 4 defensive end, and why wouldn't they? The pair did combine for a few moments. Williams broke through the right side of the line in the third quarter and had Brazil dead to rights for a loss, but the shifty quarterback dodged the big man and slipped across the field for a long gain. Later on the defensive end got the upper hand, when he and another tackler combine to drop Brazil in the backfield.

But there honestly just weren't many chances for the two to go head-to-head.

3. It will be fun to see Williams go against his own talent level: It's pretty obvious through two games this season that Williams isn't going to go against too many linemen that are on his level -- he is the No. 29 player in the nation, after all. He almost never struggles to get away from his blocker, and it takes him no time at all to get into the backfield.

The upshot of this is that teams often run to the other side of the field, and it seems like Williams anticipates that. For half of Loranger's plays Friday night, it looked like Williams knew he wouldn't have a chance to make a play and waited for the next down to get in gear. I'm not questioning his motor, but it seems pretty likely that he'd give a more complete picture of his play if he was able to go all-out on every play. Perhaps when he gets into the playoffs, or maybe even the postseason all-star games, he'll get his chance.