Veterans helping young players in practice

A spirit of cooperation was evident among the Tigers as veteran players helped younger players learn the ropes in the second day of full squad workouts.<br><br>Since some freshmen will be asked to contribute in 2002, getting them ready is of vital importance for the coaching staff and the players whom they'll be lining up alongside this fall.

Linebacker Bradie James says it is only fitting for the experienced players to lend a hand to those new on the squad.


"That's the thing to do," said James. "It's part of developing a team. If you're an older player, you can't just tell them you're going to have to get it on your own because I'm not going to help you. That's not helping the team."


One player who may be leaning on James is freshman Cameron Vaughn, who has impressed head coach Nick Saban with his ability to catch on quickly to the defensive game plan. There have been plenty of comparisons between Vaughn and Trev Faulk, the Tigers' Mike (middle) linebacker from last season who entered the NFL Draft a year early, but James says Vaughn reminds coaches of someone else.  


"The coaching staff says he's a little me," said James. "I know a lot of people compare him to Trev because he's coming in and Trev is gone. But he's a very smart player. He catches on to schemes real well right now, but he's young so he has a lot to learn. He has to mature at the position. Playing linebacker is a developing position. You can't just come in and be aggressive."


James admits he is still learning on the job after being moved from Will (weak side) to Mike linebacker. Dorsett Buckels and Lionel Turner are being readied to play the Will position in James' old spot, and Turner is also being trained at Sam (strong side) linebacker. Jason LeDoux is also cross training for the Will and Mike spots.


"I'm still learning things," said James. "I wouldn't say it's easier, it's just a challenge. I'm adjusting to the position. I just want to be on the field. It doesn't matter what I'm playing."


James says he has talked to Faulk, a free agent with the Denver Broncos, recently but they don't discuss the intricacies of the Mike linebacker position. Both are so busy in their respective fall camps they only have time to catch up on one another's personal lives.


In the secondary, there is a good battle brewing among the players contending for the nickel back spot. Since the LSU defense played in the nickel on over 50 percent of its plays from scrimmage last season, the fifth defensive back stands to get a lot of playing time again this year.


Travis Daniels and Randall Gay have been used interchangeably at cornerback and the nickel, giving the Tigers a very good cover combination. Jack Hunt works with the safeties and gives the team more of a hitter when he plays the nickel.


Randall bouncing back: Sophomore quarterback Marcus Randall says even he was amazed by how quickly he was able to come back from an ACL tear in the spring game that required surgery and rehabilitation. He credits team surgeon Dr. Brent Bankston and the LSU training staff for helping him get his knee back in shape.


"Everyone was saying normally it would take four to five months," said Randall. "When the second month came around, I had a Cybex (strength measurement) test and I was already at 75 percent. Everybody was telling me how awesome that was, but I've never had the injury… I was surprised."


Randall is able to work with the offense in group drills and runs well on the knee, but he is being held out of team drills as a precaution against accidental contact or overstressing the repaired ligament.


Running back LaBrandon Toefield, who suffered his second ACL tear in the SEC Championship Game last December, is seeing slightly less duty than Domanick Davis but not shunning contact. This may be more of a function of Toefield's knowledge of the offense rather than a measure to protect his injury.


Randall said he discussed the ACL rehab process with Toefield shortly after suffering his injury in the spring game and never doubted that he would be able to return to action.  


Offensive line shaping up: As projected, Andrew Whitworth has taken over at left tackle in the wake of the Tigers losing two linemen who could were likely to see playing time at right tackle. Rodney Reed moved from his left tackle spot to handle the right side, leaving a vacancy for Whitworth.


The second team line consisted of left tackle Terrell McGill, left guard Brian Johnson, center John Young, right guard Steve Arflin and right tackle Rudy Niswanger.


Faster than his pants: Nothing was going to stop Shyrone Carey from scoring on one fade pattern – not even his pants. The smallish sophomore raced to make a catch, brought in the ball into his chest but lost his shorts.


When he was able to keep dressed, Carey still looked very good running patterns and making catches. His work over the summer with the rest of receivers is paying dividends and will probably result in playing time for him as a slot man.

Devery Henderson also shined when extending for some longer balls. With a quick burst of speed, he was easily able to catch up to balls that were slightly overthrown and catch them in stride.

Talk about today's practice with other readers and the staff


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