Improvements continue for Tigers

There would not seem to be much room for improvement for an LSU defense ranked in the nation's top ten throughout the 2002 season.<br><br>However, that statement does not apply if you play for Nick Saban.

Saban was displeased with his defense's intensity coming out of spring practice, but his concerns have begun to decrease with the influx of a top-ranked recruiting class. Those newcomers continue to impress their coach Sunday afternoon when the Tigers held a single session of practice.

Linebacker Lionel Turner was in a red jersey throughout practice but participated in all non-contact drills. Defensive tackle Chad Lavalais was out of the red jersey and participated in all drills despite still having his right ankle heavily taped.

During the first three periods of the Sunday workout, Adrian Mayes worked solely at the linebacker position and was quite impressive, particularly in coverage drills.

While Mayes shined in his coverage drills, Saban worked with linebacker Eric Alexander on improving his ability to cover and be in the right location in the Tiger defense. The senior from Port Arthur, Texas, seemed to grasp what Saban was teaching him and improved throughout drills.

In the secondary, Jack Hunt continued to progress with audible calls for the defense, something Saban commended the senior safety for in practice.

Also at the safety position, LaRon Landry and Jessie Daniels continue to cement their spots at the backup positions.

Saban also continued his teaching of the young cornerbacks as he continues to emphasize reading opposing receivers' eyes as well as looking back for the football.

Up front on the defensive line, Marquise Hill and Bryce Wyatt had impressive workouts as both exhibited extreme quickness coming off the ball.

On the other side the ball, the LSU offense's main point of emphasis in practice was the quarterback draw, a play that was important part of the Tigers 2001 SEC Championship game victory over Tennessee and their 36-7 upset victory at Florida last season.

Working with the first team offense, Matt Mauck showed no ill effects of the injured foot that kept him out of the Tigers final seven games of the 2002 season.

One thing that displeased offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher was the Tigers' surprising inability to conduct clean snaps. Fisher made Mauck and center Ben Wilkerson continue to work on their snaps after offensive drills.

The Tigers conclude two-a-days tomorrow with a workout at 9:30 and another at 7:30.

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