Season preview: Safeties

Talented sophomores Eric Reid and Craig Loston join forces with veteran Brandon Taylor to form a strong nucleus at safety spot.

With the LSU defensive backfield as talented as any in recent memory, there will be three main pieces to the safety puzzle: Brandon Taylor, Eric Reid and Craig Loston.

All three remained healthy throughout fall camp, and Taylor – who suffered a broken foot against Alabama that kept him out the rest of the 2010 season – said that he has made a complete recovery from surgery and subsequent recovery period that should have played out longer than it did.

“I am 100 percent,” Taylor said. “I don’t even get treatment on it anymore. I just get treatment on my ankle. I stopped getting treatment two months ago. About three weeks into the summer I was running full speed.

Eric Reid

“I am probably three months ahead of schedule. Usually it takes a whole year to come back.”

Given injuries become a mental battle once the recovery process ends, Taylor said his focus is on forgetting the past and moving forward in his final year with the Tigers.

“I planted and my cleat broke, and that was a freak accident,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother me. I switched to ¾ (inch) cleats, and they really don’t bend at the bottom. I wear cleats like the linebackers wear.”

Reid might not wear the cleats, but the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder plays like a linebacker – and he will get the nod against Oregon as the starter alongside Taylor.

Craig Loston

Reid’s size and instincts make him one of the best young safeties in the SEC, but his knowledge of the game – he’s a 4.0 student – gives Reid one of the highest ceilings of all the conference’s defensive backs.

During last month’s camp, Miles tabbed Reid,  after one season of backup duties , as the play-caller on the defensive side, a major vote of confidence for the rising sophomore.

“He's an unusual guy,” Miles said. “He came in and really as a freshman he understood where to line them up and how to call a defense. Very early, he had a real comfort in communication back there.”

“Last year I didn’t know the entire playbook, but I knew enough to be out there in different spots,” Reid said. “Now I not only know all my stuff, but I know what everyone else needs to do. That’s one thing that (defensive coordinator John Chavis) said will help keep me out there.”

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