Tigers getting down to business

You know when LSU coach Nick Saban limits media access to just 15 minutes that the Tigers are getting down to business on their preparations for the 2002 season.

But in that brief glimpse, it was easy to notice that the pace of practices is getting quicker as the Tigers draw closer to their season opener with Virginia Tech on Sept. 1. Saban led the defensive backs in a coverage drill and handed out a number of compliments to his players.

Demetrius Hookfin suffered what appeared to be a shoulder stinger while trying to tackle a ball carrier, and head trainer Jack Marucci was tending to him when reporters were sent off the practice field. In this layman's eyes, the injury did not appear to be serious (not a dislocation or separation).

Players held out of practice on Tuesday included Vernon Russell (ankle), Keron Gordon (knee), Jeff Cook (sternum) and Peter Dyakowski (unspecified). Kenderick Allen made his first fall practice but his acativity was limited.

Special teams turned in a highlight later in the practice, as the scout punt coverage unit was awarded with pizza after blocking one of John Corbello's efforts. The Tigers' starting punter, Donnie Jones, says his hang time has improved to an average of range of 4.7-4.9 seconds, up from last year's 4.3, without any loss of distance.

The Tigers hold their last session of two-a-days on Wednesday and will scrimmage for the last time in fall practice on Thursday. There will be no practice on Friday, a 4 p.m. session on Saturday and another day off on Sunday before game week preparations for Virginia Tech begin.

Double-D's interests: Running back Domanick Davis had time after practice to talk about a couple of his interests off the field: raising pit bulls and art:

The pit bulls are back home in Breaux Bridge. When Davis is in school, his two brothers help raise the animals. He has a stock of 18 dogs and says the puppies can go from anywhere between $200 and $500.

Davis says he can tell all 18 dogs apart and shared a few of their names: Black Boy, Dice, Gangster, Crazy. The matriarch of the group, B.E.T., is tattoed on Davis' upper left chest. Davis, who sketches in his free time, drew the picture of B.E.T. (short for Black Entertainment Television) that the tatto artist inked on his body.

The athletic department has asked Davis to draw a rendition of the renovated Academic Center for Student Athletes. He has already drawn pictures of some of the Tiger All-Americans that may be on display soon.

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