Tigers back after spring break layoff

The LSU football team got back to work Tuesday afternoon after a lengthy spring break. <br><br> The Tigers endured breezy conditions and chilly temperatures under sunny skies at the Charles McClendon Practice Facilit

Head coach Nick Saban commented on the unseasonably cold temperatures after LSU's 12-day, spring hiatus.

"It was a little cold out there to me," Saban said. "But nothing is as cold as standing outside in Cleveland during the winter."

Saban, of course, making reference to the blustery winters he spent during his four-year coaching stint as the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. Despite the rather uncomfortable conditions, Saban said he was pleased with the way his team handled the layoff, how much they carried over from the scrimmage and commented on the advantage of having some down time.

"I think everybody came out with a great attitude getting back into it," Saban said. "The break gives our team, if anything, a chance to build some resiliency. We came back healthier, not nearly as nicked up as we were, but it is hard to take 12 days off after carrying the pads around and come back and sustain consistency and intensity."

Several players had been wearing red no-contact jerseys throughout the first few practices. Saban said the layoff gave players an opportunity to heal properly.

"We need to sustain better and get enough out of the end of practice as we do at the beginning," Saban said. "It is all about mental toughness. But we healed up. We had some guys nicked up and they had time to heal."

Saban said the team did report on Monday, but spent the day reviewing the film from the first scrimmage held on April 2.

"It was good for us to watch the film yesterday and everybody to get back and acclimated to school," Saban said. "I am pleased with the effort today and the carry over from the scrimmage. But I think we got tired toward the end."

The spring experimentation period continued as Saban said the coaching staff spent Tuesday looking at numerous players in an array of different positions.

One project of note was defensive lineman Brandon Washington getting a look on the offensive line. Although Saban calls this an experiment, inside reports say junior college transfer Claude Wroten may be just what the doctor ordered to replace Chad Lavalais.

"Claude played very well in the scrimmage," Saban said. "He is a very active player. We also tried Melvin Oliver inside, he had been playing end, and we put Kirston Pittman at right end. We also have been moving Kyle Williams around."

Saban said there has also been some juggling at linebacker. Darius Ingram, who had been seeing plenty of action at SAM linebacker, moved inside. Kenny Hollis, who is a tremendous athlete but rather large to play linebacker, played with a hand down Tuesday at defensive end.

"We are moving guys around looking at them in different positions," Saban said. "What we are trying to do is get the best opportunity to get the best guys on the field at the same time. "

Saban stressed, though, it is difficult to place inexperienced players in numerous positions due to their lack of knowledge.

"We like to take younger guys and play them at one spot," he said. "We want to move older, more experienced guys around and assign them multiple roles."

One player who is doing "the shuffle" these days is defensive back Ronnie Prude. Saban joked that he is skeptical about moving Prude to offense for a few reps after what happened with Corey Webster in the spring's first scrimmage.

"My practice card said to play No. 8 (Prude) at wide receiver today," Saban quipped. "But we don't need another double agent like Corey Webster. We play Corey at wide receiver and then he gives up big plays on defense and is sharing information to the offense. Already have one guy doing that, don't know if I want another."

Speaking of Webster and defensive backs, Saban said he feels very confident right now the Tigers have five solid players in the defensive backfield.

"I feel good about our top five DBs right now," Saban said. "We really need a sixth guy to step up."

The sixth man appears to be junior college transfer Mario Stevenson.

"We are trying to teach him to play corner," Saban said of Stevenson. "He is better playing on the inside at "Star," but we are just letting him play through his mistakes."

Webster and Travis Daniels appear to be the top players on the corners and LaRon Landry and Jesse Daniels are leading the way at the safety spots. The 27-year-old unknown safety Joe Lawrence continues to draw interest and make improvement.

"He reminds me a lot of where Brian West was last year," Saban said. "He is a tough guy. I do not question his toughness, but he has been away from football a long time and we need to get him back in football mode. He is a guy that could help us down the road and is the type of guy that can contribute on special teams."

Overall, Saban summed up the team in parts, by position.

"I am pretty pleased with the progression of the offense to this point. All three of the quarterbacks, the young wide receivers – the offensive line is coming around, we just need to work on depth.

"On defense, not all pieces of the puzzle are ready yet. The younger players do not know the system yet. We are really thin defensively on the front seven in terms of depth. We have a lot of young players that just lack experience.

"As far as the specialists, I am pleased with how they have come along. We didn't really kick that much today with all of the win out there."

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