Tigers open fall camp

LSU opened up fall football practice Wednesday with split-squad workouts.<br><br>Most of the returning players practiced first at 3 p.m., and the new Tigers teamed with the rest of the upper classmen at 7 p.m.

LSU head coach Nick Saban was pleased with what he saw from his returning players.

"I thought we had a really good practice," Saban said. "The pace was what we needed it to be to be able to get teaching, which is what we want to get out of these first three practices."

Senior wide receiver and ESPY award winner Devery Henderson was excited to finally get back to the practice field.

"It feels good to be out there," Henderson said. "It's not fun out in that hot sun, but you have got to do it. It's nice to be out there catching balls again."

Running back Joseph Addai said the first days of fall practice allow everyone to reinforce their fundamental skills.

"You just concentrate on the little things," Addai said. "Practice the basics and not try and kill yourself out there this early."

Splitting the first day of practice into two sessions also proved beneficial to the Tigers.

"I thought we got accomplished what we wanted to," Saban said. "We didn't have so many guys out there that we couldn't give everybody reps and turns and that allowed us to get the concepts taught on both sides of the ball.

"As a coach, I feel that we got more teaching done, more turns in a controlled situation in terms of developing players and giving them an opportunity to learn and get better splitting the practice up than if we would have had all 105 together at the same time.

"With the younger guys practicing later, who have less of a knowledge base to start with, it's going to be even more a benefit to them."

Saban also received the results of the conditioning tests taken Tuesday and was very pleased with the results.

"Looking at the results of the conditioning tests, this is probably the best any team that we have had since we've been hear," Saban said. "Seventy-eight out 102 that took the conditioning tests passed it. More guys passed the strength and sprint test than we have ever had. That just shows the commitment our players made in the off-season in the summer conditioning program."

Perhaps the biggest news of the day was the move of Bryce Wyatt from defensive end to defensive tackle and Adrian Mayes from safety to linebacker.

Saban said the moves are on a trial basis, but they could end up being very beneficial to the Tigers defense.

"Those are experiments," Saban said. "Bryce played inside in the spring some and we were impressed with him. We've tried Adrian Mayes at linebacker before. We've tried at strong safety, and he played it in the spring. It would give us some flexibility to have a linebacker who had a background as a defensive back and Adrian would give that to us. We just have to see how it goes."

With Mayes moving to linebacker, Saban expects Travis Daniels and freshman Jessie Daniels and LaRon Landry to contribute at the strong safety position.

A healthy Matt Mauck was impressive at practice as the junior quarterback showed great touch on his passes, particularly the deep ball. Lester Ricard also showed great touch on the deep ball during drills.

Marcus Randall struggled in offensive drills as offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher worked to improve Randall's release point and taking the ball from center.

At the wide receive position, sophomores Bennie Brazell and Skyler Green both were impressive. The All-American sprinter Brazell was particularly impressive as he caught nearly every pass that was thrown in his direction, something he has struggled with throughout his career.

On the defensive side of the ball, redshirt freshman defensive back Keron Gordon shined in individual drills as Saban worked with the defensive backs.

With the true freshmen reporting at 7 p.m., the beginning of practice was spent teaching as the assistant coaches worked on the players' technique and stretching.

Special teams worked followed for all non-quarterbacks and linemen. Freshmen quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn worked on taking the snap from center and their cadence calling with Fisher.

In individual workouts, Saban once again went with the defensive backs and was impressed with the play of Landry and Nick Child. Jessie Daniels, one of the players Saban talked about as possibly contributing at the safety position, struggled throughout practice.

Perhaps the most impressive of the defensive newcomers was linebacker Kenneth Hollis. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound junior from Adamsville, Ala., was calling and signaling plays during defensive drills.

Split squad practices will continue Thursday, as the varsity will practice at 9:30 a.m., and the freshman at 3:30 p.m.

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