Clark leading Tigers through practice grind

Though the skies above interchanged between sunny, cloudy and rainy Sunday in Baton Rouge, the LSU football team stayed outdoors for its 14th full-team practice of the 2001 season. Head coach Nick Saban took his players through three 7-minute individual periods Sunday while many of his assistant kept both the sun and rain out of their eyes with the aid of gold LSU caps.

Tiger Rag spent part of Sunday watching one such assistant, defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison, work with Saban and the secondary, where free safety Ryan Clark is the group's unquestioned leader.

As is usually the case, Clark was vocal, energetic and focused as he went through Sunday's drills. He has beefed up to 198 pounds, 13 more than his playing weight of 185 last season.

At right cornerback, Demetrius Hookfin has quietly had a solid camp working on the right side. Though it's unclear whether he can wrest the starting job from senior Robert Davis, Hookfin does have one at least one advantage — size. LSU lists him at 5-foot-11, and he is clearly taller than Davis. Of course, Saban likes his defensive backs as tall and physical as he can get them.

"I hear people talking about Hookfin not turning around and finding the ball, but it's a tough position to play," Harbison said during the summer. "He has games under his belt now. He has a year's experience now. He'll do fine and he'll come back. This past spring he covered well and he made plays."

At left cornerback, Tiger Rag is hedging a bet that Norman LeJeune, who played particularly well in the spring and has continued with a sound performance thus far, will be the starter for the LSU's season opener.

However, nothing is either official or settled until the end of August.

Five players — running back Elice Parker, tailback/strong safety Domanick Davis, strong safety Travis Moses, wide receiver Blain Bech and tight end Robert Royal — wore red no-contact jerseys during practice.

Left guard Kade Comeaux, tight end Marcus Spears and tailback Ryan Gilbert watched the rest of their respective position players work out while they wore jerseys and shorts. Tailback/wide receiver Devery Henderson wore a gray t-shirt and shorts, staying out of Sunday's practice for an unknown reason.

LSU will hold two 11 more practice sessions between now and Sept. 1, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday, two days before their next scrimmage in Tiger Stadium.

ASK YOURSELF - Is your source for LSU sports attending every session of fall practice to make sure you're up to date with the latest news on the Tigers? If they're not, you've come to the right place - - your eyes and ears on the sidelines.

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