Spring practice: Monday report

LSU was back at practice Monday afternoon for the third practice of spring drills. Go inside for notes from the media session with players.

After a Sunday spent resting, the LSU football team was back at work for its third practice in four days, a quick head start to spring camp that saw the Tigers suit up before any other SEC team.

Dressed in helmets and shoulder pads Monday, the team worked under sunny skies, and the media was allowed to observe 20 minutes of individual drills at the start of practice.

Here are some notes from the session:

  • LSU coach Les Miles got the excitement level up in a hurry when he called for the team's first Big Cat drill of the spring - which pits one offensive player against one defensive player in a battle of getting off the line and pushing the opponent back for the win.

    A common theme was veteran vs. youth, with the veterans pushing around the younger players across the board.

    At one point, LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson called for redshirt freshmen cornerbacks Jalen Collins and David Jenkins to "get back in the cafeteria and eat something."

    La'el Collins scored a big win over Anthony Johnson to get the action going, and Jonah Austin followed the win up with another victory for the offensive line, this time over Jermauria Rasco.

    Chancey Aghayere got the defensive line on the board with a dominant win over Evan Washington. Then the focus shifted to veterans vs. youth, and Luke Muncie set the tone by pushing back newcomer Jeremy Hill. Chants of "fresh meat" rang out from the defensive players in the group.

    Other notable wins: Lamin Barrow over Kenny Hilliard, Alfred Blue over Lamar Louis and Russell Shepard over Jenkins.

  • The quarterbacks worked out with the wide receivers for the majority of the session when the media was on hand, with Zach Mettenberger taking the first-team reps, followed by Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall.

    Mettenberger and Rivers are clearly the more talented passers at this stage, with Randall struggling with his consistency on most throws. Rivers has also filled out considerably since last fall. He is currently listed at 6-foot-7 and 212 pounds.

    While Steve Kragthorpe would split his attention between Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee in the past, it's evident Kragthorpe is putting the majority of his efforts on one guy now - Mettenberger. Kragthorpe was very hands-on with his new starting QB on Monday, focusing a good bit on technique and becoming vocal with his instruction.

  • Junior running back Michael Ford was dressed in a green no-contact jersey, but he wasn't held back from doing any of the individual drills.

  • Of the running back group, it appears Spencer Ware has added some weight in the offseason, which, coupled with Hilliard's emergence and the play of Ford and Blue, could mean more reps at the fullback spot for Ware.

    Miles also said he looks for Jeremy Hill to shake off some rust after a year spent away from the football field. Collins, Hill's former Redemptorist teammate, said Hill weighs 240 pounds.

  • The order of the first-team offensive line was (left to right) Chris Faulk, Collins, P.J. Lonergan, Josh Williford and Alex Hurst.

    The second-team offensive line was (left to right) Vadal Alexander, Evan Washington, Elliot Porter, Trai Turner and Jonah Austin.

    When he's not with the first-team at left guard, Collins has taken reps as a backup to Josh Dworaczyk at guard and Faulk at tackle.

  • While Miles mentioned Bennie Logan, Anthony Johnson, Josh Downs and Ego Ferguson as the first four defensive tackles in the rotation, keep an eye on redshirt freshman Mickey Johnson.

    Johnson is built in the mold of Josh Downs, though his competitive weightlifting background hints Johnson might be a bit stronger than Downs.

    Johnson is extremely well-built in the lower body, and he's able to get into the backfield in a hurry off the snap.

    If Downs or Ferguson lose ground in the race, Johnson could step to the field in his second year in the program.

  • The defensive back picture is beginning to gain some clarity.

    Though first-year assistant coach Corey Raymond is sure to shuffle up the order plenty between now and next September, he was consistent with his order on Monday.

    Tharold Simon and Tyrann Mathieu were the first-team cornerbacks, joined by Eric Reid and Craig Loston at the safety spots.

    Collins and Jenkins, bot redshirt freshmen, were the second-team cornerbacks, joined by Micah Eugene and Ronald Martin at the safety positions.

    Raymond was likely getting his first look at the younger cornerbacks on Monday as redshirt sophomore Ronnie Vinson - who repped with the third-team - is also in the mix for playing time at the third cornerback spot.

    VIDEO: Big cat drill

    Photo gallery: RBs and WRs

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