Note: Jeremy Kenny focused on the offense and David Helman watched the defense.
The afternoon session included the incoming freshmen from the Tigers’ 2008 recruiting class as well as most of the remaining veterans that were not at practice this morning.
There was a drastic difference in the pace of the afternoon practice compared to the morning practice. The morning practice had a ‘time to get back to work’ feel to it as the players went through drills with little to no instruction from the coaches. The afternoon session consisted of more teaching by the coaches to get the younger players, especially the freshmen, accustomed to doing drills the correct way. Coach Miles in particular was more vocal and hands on at this practice than any other practice I can remember.
At quarterback, freshman Jordan Jefferson and sophomore walk-on T.C. McCartney were carrying the load, literally. The two spent a good five minutes running sideline to sideline with the ball, trying to strip it from each other. At one point both Coach Miles and Coach Crowton stopped Jefferson and went through the proper way to hold the ball while running with it.
Once they got into throwing the ball, Jefferson received even more instruction, especially from Coach Miles. After one throw, Miles went over and whispered something in Jefferson’s ear. After his next pass, Miles yelled out, “Much better! See how that was over the top and the ball landed right on his outside shoulder? That was very good. It’s not perfect yet, but we’re getting there.”
Jefferson and McCartney were throwing to six different targets at wide receiver. The receivers went through drills in pairs. The first pair was DeAngelo Peterson and Tim Molton. The second pair was John Williams and Chris Tolliver. The third pair was Jhyryn Taylor and walk-on RJ Gillen. Of that group, Peterson was easily the most impressive looking physically. He and Molton are about the same height, but Peterson is much thicker and appears physically ready to play right now. Both Peterson and Molton are listed at 190 on the roster but that is clearly not the case.
As they were going through drills, Peterson made a few nice leaping catches over Molton that really showed his athleticism. Jhyryn Taylor also displayed impressive quickness. During a ball security drill, Peterson was able to strip the ball away from Molton. Coach McCarthy stopped everyone and told them, “Ball security is job security, for both you and me. It is for you because you’re not going to play if you can’t hold the ball. And it is for me because if I play you and you drop the ball, then I get fired.”
On a side note, sophomore receiver Ricky Dixon was not at either practice today in the time the media was allowed to observe.
The tight ends consisted of freshman Matt Branch and walk-ons Caleb Angelle and Jake Bryan. Coach Henson was going over the intricacies of coming off the line on their routes when the ball is snapped.
Among the players going through drills at offensive line were T-Bob Hebert, P.J. Lonergan, Clay Spencer, Thomas Parsons, Greg Shaw, and Alex Hurst. The rain started coming down as I was going over to watch the offensive line so I did not get to see which positions they were all lined up at. That will be the first priority in tomorrow afternoon’s practice.
The second priority of tomorrow afternoon’s practice will be to watch the running backs because I did not get to do that at all today. However as we were walking in, the only two scholarship players that we noticed among the running backs were Stevan Ridley and Tyler Edwards. Edwards practicing with the running backs instead of the tight ends seems to lend more credence to the rumors that he is going to be used as an H-Back at LSU as well as tight end.
The afternoon’s defensive session was very similar to this morning’s, although the faces were mostly new to the practice fields. The day began once again with full-defense drills, with the new guys focusing on the same thing as the veterans – taking the right angle to the ball. The first unit to go was as follows:
Chase Clement and Sidell Corley took the end positions, with Kentravis Aubrey and Jonathan Nixon playing tackle. The linebackers went from left to right: Ryan Baker, David Impastato, and Kyle Prater. Brandon Taylor and Patrick Peterson were the starting corners, with Stefoinn Francois and Karnell Hatcher as the safeties.
The second-team was only an eight-man unit. Cordian Hagans lined up at DT with Lavar Edwards and Chancey Aghayere flanking him at defensive end. Harold Butcher was the team’s lone linebacker, while the secondary behind him was Chad Moody, Ryan St. Julien, Bo Aycock, and Derrick Bryant.
The majority of these guys were in their first practice and you could tell. While the coaches launched right into drills with the vets this morning, they spent several minutes going over what was to be expected with their new players. The coaches were also extra attentive to details, making sure that the youngsters did everything that was expected of them. Tiny lapses in focus that the starters might have gotten away with were not tolerated.
Team drills lasted shorted than the morning workout before the different units split up. The line headed for the sleds where Sonny was able to get some video, and the linebackers went across the way to start their footwork drills. David Impastato made the switch to linebacker during the off-season, and was getting extra attention from the coaches on his footwork.
Highly-touted recruits Ryan Baker and Kyle Prater finally made their first appearance in purple and gold. It is an understandable discrepancy given that these two were high school kids just a few months ago, but both Prater and Baker were dwarfed by their counterparts Sheppard and Riley from the morning practice.
The highlight of the day was the secondary drills. The drills themselves were once again the same as this morning, but TSD readers will be eager to hear about the first day of practice for Patrick Peterson and Brandon Taylor.
The secondary was only able to work for about five minutes, but both Taylor and Peterson look ready to play SEC football right now. The roster that LSU provided to the media this morning lists Peterson at 6-1, 175, but the Florida standout looks much more beefed up than that.
Taylor also looks like he got some serious summer work in, and it’s no wonder that the LSU defensive coaches said the pair looked the most physically improved. Taylor jogged off the field following corner route drills and passed right by me, and the Franklinton product looks every bit like an SEC corner in his first practice in the P&G.
Halfway through the session a nasty band of rain (most likely leftovers from tropical storm Edouard) hit the practice facility, and the players jogged to their state-of-the-art indoor field while the media was left to find their way through the downpour. Peterson and Taylor were easily the most-talked about members of the defensive practice. They certainly pass the eye test, and will have all of August to pass the rest.
We’ll have more tomorrow when the players hit the field but be on the lookout for some video, a photo gallery, more video interviews with players, and comments from Miles later this evening.