OPINIONS & OBSERVATIONS: Monday morning 8-06

The Tigers returned to the practice fields at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility this morning for the third morning session of Fall Camp.

Again, the varsity practice separate from the newcomers, who will go through their third workout this afternoon at 4:10 p.m. The media will have an opportunity to meet with coach Les Miles following this evening's practice and we'll have a complete wrap-up of the coach's impressions of day two and three of Fall Camp.

The schedule remains the same tomorrow as the varsity practices in the morning and the freshmen in the afternoon. However, Wednesday, the team will practice as a whole (in full pads) for the first time, but there will be only one workout that day.

The team will practice twice on Thursday and once on Friday before taking part in a closed scrimmage in Tiger Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers do not practice on Sunday as the annual Media and Fan day festivities commence.

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Chris Mitchell

As for this morning workouts, the media was allowed in for just three periods. Only one noteworthy piece of news to report as wide receiver Chris Mitchell returned to practice this morning. He took part in Monday morning's drills in a green, "non-contact" jersey.

As for impressions and observations, after now having seen both sets of running backs in the morning and afternoon workouts, one could easily say the Tigers have possibly the deepest backfield ever. LSU has three legitimate running backs that are certain to make major contributions to this team this season – Keiland Williams, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy. All three of these backs could be an every down back for most teams.

Aside from those three players, you have Jacob Hester who will see reps this season, but will not likely see as many touches as he did a year ago. R.J. Jackson remains listed as a running back, but he has seen most action as a wide receiver so far in camp.

Trindon Holliday is another hybrid who has seen the majority of action as a wideout, but no doubt can be placed in the backfield.

And then there is Steven Ridley. No telling where this guy ends up. Ridley came to LSU as a running back but was rumored to be moving to linebacker. The roster has him listed as a fullback, but he looks as if he could be the most "physically" gifted tailback on the team. Time will tell.

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Jacob Hester

This morning, the backs spent one whole period catching passes out of the backfield. Four running backs – Williams, Scott, Hester and fullback Shawn Jordan – took part in these drills. Hester is probably best when he does flair out of the backfield to catch a pass, but Scott looks awfully impressive snagging the ball out of the air and turning up field.

Moving down the field, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton got pretty hands on in the route-running drills this morning. He was working with LSU's veteran receivers in stop and go drills.
"I am going to be the DB," Crowton barked. "You run at me and I am going to back peddle. But I am not going to back peddle too far because I am too old for that."

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Brandon LaFell

It was amazing to see just how precise these routes have to be run. Brandon LaFell drew a compliment from Crowton and wide receivers coach DJ McCarthy for running a good strong route. However, the next time around, Crowton criticized where he placed his foot on the route. The route was to be run on the inside of the numbers. LaFell planted his outside foot on the middle of the 4 on the 40 yard line and darted back inside. Crowton stopped the drill pointing out that LaFell needed to plant on the inside of the 4, then cut in. It was a matter of LaFell's plant being some 12 inches off the mark.

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Tyson Jackson and Tremaine Johnson

LSU fans are likely spoiled when it comes to defensive linemen. One might not truly understand just how talented this group of linemen really is. The defensive line was observed for an entire period doing one on one drills. (See this morning's photo gallery) The number of stars and potential standouts across that front four is staggering. It was pretty intense watching Tremaine Johnson and Tyson Jackson going head to head. And to their immediate left, Glenn Dorsey and Marlon Favorite driving against one another. Teams are going to have very little luck running against this defensive front in 2007.

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Carnell Stewart

Had the opportunity to spend a brief few moments down by the offensive line. The big question remains can Carnell Stewart be this year's Peter Dyakowski. As everyone remembers, Dyakowski spent most of his career buried on the depth chart only to emerge his senior season as a starter. Stewart has moved over from the defensive to the offensive line and is slated as the starter (for now) at right tackle. There are also concerns about Will Arnold playing right guard. The questions aren't about Arnold's surgically reconstructed right ankle, but the fact – which he admitted to yesterday in an interview with Tiger Rag – that he has never played on the right side of the line in his whole football career.

That's it for this morning's wrap-up. Stay tuned for a full report from this afternoon's freshman workout.

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