PRACTICE REPORT: Thursday Afternoon Freshmen

For the first time this fall camp, the freshmen practice went from start to finish without the players and coaches retreating to the indoor facility to escape the rain. Players again dressed in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

No matter how much you train and prepare for fall camp, it is still hard to get accustomed to the heat and the humidity of south Louisiana. Players were often searching for water bottles and towels during exercises, while the expressions of exhaustion and confusion dominated player's faces and body languages.


LSU's freshmen are exactly what they sounds like; fresh.


Watching the veterans in the morning is a huge difference from watching the freshmen in the afternoon. The veterans are quick, confident in their ability and decision making ability and more importantly, they have gone through the routine of a collegiate football practice 100 times.


The freshmen however have not. They lack the convenience of having gone through the routine, but more importantly for the youngsters, they lack confidence.


Receivers are unsure if they are running the correct route, and are probably to uncomfortable to ask for help from the coaching staff. Linebackers are the same, except they have questions on their steps.


It's all apart of the transformation from high school to college. The athletes that attended the afternoon practice would make up the best high school football team in the nation. However, on the collegiate level, they are a far behind the veterans.


Not only are these athletes being introduced to a much quicker game of football, but they are learning it for the first time in the weight room, class room, film room and on the practice field.


Practice is run at a much slower pace because there is so much instructing going on. Every rep a player takes is critiqued by the coaching staff, which means fewer reps overall and more time absorbing the learning curve.


This is why it is so unique when a freshman can contribute to a top 10 team. Guys like free safety LaRon Landry who led the Tigers in tackles in 2003, the same year LSU won the national championship are unique. Michael Clayton is another. Clayton was a major contributor his freshman year because he drew defenses and defenders toward him, which was likely a factor in Josh Reed winning the Biletnikoff Award.


Not every player can contribute the way Landry and Clayton did their freshmen year. As of today's practice, freshman quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is still along way from becoming a major contributor.


 The freshman from Reserve, La. looked like a freshman on the practice field, not like the savior of college football he was said to be. He holds all the physical attributes to become a starter at LSU, but is still far away from walking onto the field as a starter.


Perrilloux had trouble with his accuracy in afternoon drills, but part of the blame could fall on the freshmen receivers not running routes perfectly as the veterans do.


Some freshmen will likely see a lot of playing time in 2006. All the receivers have a chance to play, including Jared Mitchell and Chris Mitchell who looked to be handling themselves nicely, as well as many players that are still waiting for their academic eligibility.

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