LSU dons full pads Thursday

After having the day off on Wednesday, the LSU Tigers returned to work Thursday afternoon at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

For the first time this spring, the Tigers came out in full pads and experienced the initial contact of this spring camp.

It looked as if coach Les Miles might have to move his team indoors, as he did many times during Fall camp last August. Dark clouds loomed overhead most of the day and it was misting rain just prior to the Tigers' 4 p.m. workout, but by the time the team hit field, the sun poked through the clouds and the sky cleared up.

The media was allowed to observe four periods of today's workout. Upon arrival, a very special visitor was noticed coming out of the new Football Operations Building.

Accompanied by Mack Butler, Director of Football Operations, and David Funes of the LSU Alumni Association, Lod Cook was in town for the day and wanted to check out the Tigers in action. Cook is one of LSU's most notable and esteemed contributors, for whom the Lod Cook Hotel and Conference Center is named.

It is hard not to make a b-line for the defensive lineman drills when you arrive at practice. LSU's talented group of big guys are quite imposing and freshman defensive tackle Joesph Barksdale is no different. A member of the Tigers' 2007 Class of recruits, Miles bragged on Barksdale, who enrolled at LSU early.

"When you put him (Barksdale) up next to Al Woods, these guys block out the sun," Miles said.

Moving down the line to the defensive backs, it was noticed that cornerback Jonathan Zenon had a heavily taped right hand. The covering was noticed over the palm area and did not include any fingers. It looked as if it might be a cut of some sort.

Craig Steltz appears to be relishing the role of veteran leader in the secondary. Expected to take over for Jesse Daniels at strong safety, Steltz seems to making a smooth transition.

On the offensive side of the field, there has been lots of talk about Early Doucet and Brandon LaFell, but one player who seems to have made lots of improvement from his true freshman season is Ricky Dixon. Carrying a big frame, Dixon may turn out to be a key possession receiver for the Tigers, while the speed burners will be the Mitchells - Chris and Jared.

Speaking of Jared Mitchell, he was present for LSU's Thursday workout. He missed Tuesday's practice due to his baseball obligations as LSU played host to Tulane. The Tigers lost that game 8-3. Mitchell is not expected to practice on Saturday. LSU hosts Lipscomb for game two of a weekend series Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Absent from Thursday's workout was offensive guard Will Arnold and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. Defensive end Tim Washington has been a no-show this spring and is not expected back. Alley Broussard, who was absent for the third straight day, is rumored to be serving a suspension for unspecified reasons.

The Tigers will have the day off Friday but will resume the spring schedule on Saturday mornign with an 11 a.m. workout. Check back to in the mornign for a complete photo gallery of Thursday's practice.

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