Tigers hold first practice in pads

The LSU football team held its third set of split-squad practices on Friday.<br><br>The Tigers put on pads in advance of their first full-team practice on Saturday.

Only one player was held out of practice for medical reasons. Wide receiver Devery Henderson spent the day receiving treatment for a strained hamstring.

Offensive lineman Rodney Reed said he liked the pace of the first practice in pads.

"We don't have a depth chart right now," Reed said. "We're just out there working hard. Today was our first day in pads. We had a good tempo today at practice. We all pushed through the heat.

"The heat is a big thing. It got a couple of us the first day of practice with cramps. We just had a real good practice today defense and offense."

First-year offensive line coach Stacy Searels continued to work hard with his players. His biggest point of emphasis early in practice was working on making verbal adjustments, and junior center Ben Wilkerson was put in charge of making all calls for the line.

While no depth chart has officially been set, Friday afternoon the varsity squad worked in two offensive line units.

Wilkerson was joined by Andrew Whitworth at left tackle, Rudy Niswanger at left guard, Stephen Peterman at right guard, and Reed at right tackle. Senior Eric Edwards rounded out the line at tight end.

While Peterman has taken a vocal role of leadership amongst the lineman, Whitworth has demonstrated a silent leadership role through his play on the field.

With Terrell McGill taking part in the afternoon practice, the second unit was composed of Peter Dyakowski at left tackle, Steve Arflin at left guard, Jimmy Courtenay at center, Garett Wibel at right guard, and Nate Livings at right tackle.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive line coach Travis Jones worked with the lineman on their initial power moves off the snap. Tackles Chad Lavalais and Kyle Williams seem to immediately apply what they were taught.

A second-year player from Ruston, Williams is excited about contributing more this year for the LSU defense.

"I'm a young guy," Williams said. "It helped being behind Ken (Allen) and Chad last year learning our defense a lot. They showed me how to play and push myself through a lot of different things.

"Probably the biggest thing I learned from last year that will help me this season is being comfortable with your assignment on the field. You have to know your assignment to be able to play your best. If you know what you're doing, you don't have to second guess yourself. That means you can go all out at all times."

Williams' fellow starters on the defensive line were also impressive during individual drills. Slimmed-down versions of Marcus Spears and Marquise Hill showed tremendous quickness during workouts.

On the offensive side of the ball, Marcus Randall had perhaps his best day of practice as the junior quarterback showed a much better touch on the football.

With Henderson held out of practice due to injury, sophomore Bennie Brazell took advantage of the extra playing time. The sophomore wide receiver continues to be one of the early surprises of the fall camp.

Quarterback Matt Mauck said he can definitely see an improvement in Brazell.

"The thing about Bennie is that he has great speed," Mauck said. "In a couple of games last year, he dropped a couple of balls early and that hurt his confidence. Bennie has demonstrated more confidence so far in workouts and it has shown on the field. Now he just needs to transfer this to the game."

In addition to Brazell, Mauck looks forward to working with the Tigers' young receivers, as Saturday will be the first workout of the entire 105-man team.

"We worked together in the summer," Mauck said. "But it's different in the fall. You get to see more of a fire between them. I've been impressed with what I've seen in the summer, but I'm interested to see what they looked like tomorrow."

Mauck also looks forward to helping freshmen quarterbacks Matt Flynn and JaMarcus Russell in their continued development.

"I think it will be a lot more after today," Mauck said. "We're still separated right now. We're like two separate teams. I roomed with JaMarcus and we talked a lot. I think the more that we are in practice together, the more you can help each other out.

Freshmen practice saw the LSU coaching staff continue their progression of teaching as head coach Nick Saban worked with his young secondary on their three-deep coverage. Jonathan Zenon and Nick Child adjusted well to the coaching techniques Saban showed them.

On the defensive line, former John Curtis star Carnell Stewart worked at defensive tackle and was very impressive in individual workouts.

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