Spring football practice report

Baton Rouge was expecting more showers on Tuesday, but fortunately for the Tigers the impending rain in the area held off long enough this afternoon to allow them to get in a normal practice.

Two new players missing from today’s practice were Chris Tolliver and Jhyryn Taylor. Shomari Clemons and T-Bob Hebert continued to practice in green non-contact jerseys.


There didn’t appear to be any depth chart changes at any position today after Saturday’s scrimmage.


With both Tolliver and Taylor out of wide receiver drills, and both typically lining up on the same side behind Terrance Toliver and Chris Mitchell, the walk-ons got more reps than usual at today’s practice. As a result there seemed to be a few more dropped passes and more balls hitting the ground in general than normal.


All of the quarterbacks seemed a little off today with more balls than usual either being underthrown or overthrown. Russell Shepard had his toughest practice throwing the ball in a while, as he struggled with both accuracy and his release. Chris Garrett really looked like a freshman today for the first time all spring.


The running backs started practice with the linebackers again to work on their blitz pickups, and again they seemed to struggle. Kelvin Sheppard seemed to be getting by Charles Scott with ease, and Richard Murphy could barely get a finger on Ryan Baker when trying to block him. Baker was so unstoppable that he drew a loud yell of praise from defensive coordinator/linebackers coach John Chavis after every single rep. When they shifted sides and the running backs had to pick the blitzer up coming from their left, they seemed to be more successful. Scott and Keiland Williams were usually able to lock up with the defender and ride them past the quarterback to the outside.


After this drill was over the running backs went over to the quarterbacks to catch passes out of the backfield.


For the linebackers, after they finished blitzing the running backs they went to work in pass coverages out of nickel schemes. Sheppard and Jacob Cutrera were the two first team nickel linebackers, and they were the only ones that repped in the drill as we were allowed to watch.


It’s always interesting to watch the defensive line drills, because it seems like everyday Coach Brick Haley comes up with something new for them to do. When we got a chance to see the unit as a whole, Rahim Alem and Pep Levingston were on the end with Drake Nevis and Al Woods inside.


Today after they hit the sleds and worked the plyometric ball back and forth, Haley had the linemen pair up and work on their footwork and hand usage. One of the linemen would stand behind the other and quickly shift from side to side, and at the end of each side he had to bat the defenders hands down in front of him. What made this drill so interesting was that the lineman in front was basically wearing what could best be described as hulk hands for those of you that have seen the movie Stepbrothers.


Secondary coach Ron Cooper had the defensive backs lining up four across for most of the practice working on their backpedal and breaking on the ball. The starting four remains the same with Patrick Peterson, Chad Jones, Harry Coleman, and Chris Hawkins. Next was Jai Eugene, Danny McCray, Karnell Hatcher, and Brandon Taylor. Then it was Derrick Bryant, Ron Brooks, walk-on Daniel Graff, and Phelon Jones. Ryan St. Julien lined up behind Bryant, and Rocky Duplessis behind Graff.


LSU will practice one more time this week with a scrimmage on Thursday.

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