On Saturday morning the LSU football team hit the outdoor practice fields for its first full-squad workout of fall camp.
The media was allowed to observe for two sessions that totaled 15 minutes.
Here are some quick hitters from the morning session:
· - Quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe was very hands-on with his passers. He spent most of the 15 minutes stressing footwork as the quarterbacks worked with the receivers on 10-yard out routes. Jordan Jefferson looked to be in more of a rhythm today than his first two practices, and he was also the most vocal quarterback of the bunch. All spring and summer Les Miles has talked up Jefferson’s newfound leadership skills, and on Friday Rueben Randle told me that the receivers are thriving off of that. It wasn’t a great day for Zach Mettenberger or Jerrard Randall. They both struggled with consistency, and Mettenberger became visibly frustrated after a few misthrown passes. For Randall, it’s going to be about consistency. He can sling it for a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, but accuracy is something he really struggles with. If he can become consistent with good throws, then he could develop as a compliment to Mettenberger, the heir apparent to Jefferson.
· - The wide receivers, specifically Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard, showed off good hands throughout the session. Going back to the conversation I had with Randle, the rising junior said wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales called both players out before camp this week, telling them that they would have to be the ones to lead the receiving corps all year. They are both working at a noticeably different pace than camps over the past two seasons, and Shepard’s hands have gotten much better since the spring. Sophomores Kadron Boone and James Wright are battling for playing time behind the pair, as is newcomer Odell Beckham. So far I’ve liked Boone the most. He gets up field in a hurry and has shown off some consistent hands. Through the first three days Jarrett Fobbs has had a rough go with drops, and Armand Williams was held out of action on Friday and Saturday.
· - Two more bodies held out on the offensive side were running back Terrance Magee and fullback J.C. Copeland. No word on whether their absence was injury related. Spencer Ware led the running backs through drills, followed by Alfred Blue, Jakhari Gore, Michael Ford, and Kenny Hilliard. I previously wrote about how physically impressive everyone is looking coming out of summer, and Ware is a prime example. Ware is listed at 5-foot-11, 223-pounds, a perfect size for the type of running that Miles wants this offense to rely on. He’s smaller than guys like Charles Scott and Stevan Ridley, but as he proved in the Cotton Bowl, he’s got athleticism and is tough to get down once he starts moving in the open field. He’s certainly the clear-cut starter in this group.
· - LSU fans are anxious to hear of the progress of freshman La’el Collins, and on Saturday morning he was plugged into the second-team line as a left guard. Evan Washington, Greg Shaw, Matt Branch, and Ben Domingue joined him. Though Chris Faulk appears to be in line for the start at left tackle, the staff is doing what they can to shuffle Collins around and see where he could lend a hand.
· - Strongside linebacker Karnell Hatcher was dressed in a green no-contact jersey, unfortunate news given his history of missing preseason practices. He didn’t appear to be hurting, but defensive coordinator John Chavis still kept him away from hits when the team went to shells for the first time. Stefoin Francois, who started at strongside linebacker in 2010, stepped in and took Hatcher’s reps on Saturday.
· - Chavis was very vocal with his defense, once laying into walk-on Dennis Johnson after the defensive tackle didn’t sprint the entire way on an interception return drill. When the defense broke into position groups, Chavis picked up where he left off. Despite the fact that the team is just three days into fall camp, Chavis is already in mid-season form.
Miles will speak to the media later today, and on Sunday the TigerSportsDigest.com staff will be back on campus to bring you the news from the fourth practice of the fall.