LSU was back on the field in steamy conditions Sunday morning, and there was noticeable uptick in intensity as the entire team went through the final paces before the players don full pads for the first time in camp on Monday morning.
One special visitor was on hand: LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva spent several minutes talking with coach Les Miles as the Tigers went through individual team drills.
The TigerSportsDigest.com staff was also hand for the spirited practice session and here are some notes and thoughts from the three periods media was allowed to observe.
-- In quarterback-receiver drills, Jordan Jefferson was razor-sharp while the media was on hand, and threw the ball as well he has so far in camp. He was hitting receivers in stride consistently and laying the ball in perfect spots when the drill called for the QBs to stretch the field with down-field passes. Twice on 40- or 45-yard throws requiring touch and timing, Jefferson hit Rueben Randle and then Odell Beckham with on-target passes. Both receivers made nice leaping grabs, while other receivers and quarterbacks struggled to connect. Beckham made a handful of other nice catches, leaping and snaring the ball at its highest point. Randle continued to be impressive with his aggressiveness going after the ball and Russell Shepard isn't letting many balls hit the ground, either.
-- The scout teams are loosely starting to take shape with a day or work out of the way. Freshmen quarterbacks Jerrard Randall and Stephen Rivers were spending time in skeleton work against the secondary, while running backs Jakhari Gore, Kenny Hilliard and Connor Neighbors with the linebackers. The backs drew the ire of defensive coordinator John Chavis at one point when he bellowed "Where are my backs? Get over here! You don't want come over here to take a damn break!" Randall and Rivers should be a nice combination for the scout team – Rivers as more of a pocket passer and Randall as a dual threat.
-- In the backfield drills, Terrance Magee was back with the group but seemed a little sluggish. Fullback J.C. Copeland was still missing. Spencer Ware continues to lead the drills and looks sharpest in whatever RBs coach Frank Wilson is having the backs do. Whatever competition there might've been when camp began seems to have been decided as Ware sets the pace with the group, and the battle for playing time is among the others.
-- The offensive line group welcomed back a familiar face as sophomore Josh Williford was back at practice for the first time in camp. The 6-foot-7, 324-pound guard was given the first few days off after losing two family members in a 48-hour span. The first unit continued to be the same, with T-Bob Hebert and Josh Dworaczyk splitting time at left guard. Dworaczyk was more vocal than he had been the first few days, particularly when the linemen worked in tandem on the blocking sled for the several minutes.
-- The defensive line and secondary groups ran through a number of non-descript drills while the media watched. The big news from those groups was that safety-turned-linebacker Karnell Hatcher was out of a green no-contact jersey. The 223-pound Hatcher seems comfortable operating in the middle linebacker spot, which could be a good fit since he won't have as much pass coverage responsibility there when LSU is in a 4-2-5 defense. He told media members Friday that when the Tigers are in a five-DB look, he and Ryan Baker would be the two linebackers on the field.
-- While there might be a concerted effort to keep opponents guessing on different formations and with different personnel, that may be hard for the LSU coaches do with their tight ends. Deangelo Peterson is clearly the best receiver of the group and when he's in the game in passing situations, it will be impossible for defenses to ignore him because of the matchup problems he presents. He has caught the ball much more consistently in camp, while the other tight ends have struggled to show they can be counted on as receivers. Redshirt freshman Travis Dickson seems to be the most likely candidate to emerge as a reliable pass-catcher and may need to so Peterson's presence on the field doesn't become a red flag for opponents.
LSU is scheduled to be back on the field early Monday morning in full pads and the TigerSportsDigest.com staff will be there and at player interviews later in the day.
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