On the rise

The scramble for playing time in the LSU defensive backfield is in full force as the team heads into the second half of spring practice. Working out at both corner and safety, sophomore Ron Brooks' offseason performance has earned him praise time and again from head coach Les Miles.

When Ron Brooks signed on with the Tigers in 2007, Miles had officially made his way into Dallas to nab a Lone Star State player. 


The feat was a recruiting act that had not been performed with much success over the recent years, but MacArthur High School's senior star had helped pull it off.


Headed into his freshman season, talk surrounded the Irving native regarding his abilities on special teams.


One of the quicker Tigers on the defensive side of the ball, Brooks made his living at MacArthur slicing up the opposition with quick cuts and breakaway burners.


In his final year, Brooks rushed for 1,264 yards and 19 touchdowns ... at quarterback. He also threw for 882 yards and nine touchdowns, a performance which earned him District 7-5A Most Valuable Player honors.


Yet, all that awaited him in Baton Rouge was a redshirt and open spot on the bench.


"When I first came in I was looking to contribute and maybe play special teams," he said. "But, I never got that chance. Now that I have the opportunity, I can't wait for the season to come."


While he had earned praise from Miles throughout the spring, the sophomore's feeling of urgency for the coming season increased in a big way last Saturday.


During the Tigers' first scrimmage, which Miles described as a day that belonged to the defense, Brooks intercepted two passes. 


Even better, he returned one to the house.


"Saturday was my first day getting snaps at free safety, and that is where both of the picks came," Brooks said. "I felt like I have done well up to this point, but there is always room for improvement. I am at a new position, so there is always something to learn."


While getting onto the field is priority number one, Brooks said that move offers him a more confident approach to what he has to accomplish in the coming season.


"I feel like at safety you have more freedom," he said. "I just watch the quarterback and react to it. At corner I have to play zones and the receiver at the same time. I definitely am enjoying it."


Brooks said that the move came as a result of defensive backs coach Ron Cooper's new take on the Tiger side.


"I was at both cornerback slots before that, and I had been there since I got to LSU," he said. "The coaches asked me to learn the safety position, and that is what I am trying to do. 


"[Cooper] said he is looking for the best people, no matter what your position is," added Brooks. "Right now he is living up to what he said because he is letting us get on the field. I am still doing a little work at corner, but we will see how it all works out."


While Brooks said that he has been running with the two's at safety during the Tigers' scrimmages, Miles said that the fall will hold a starting spot for sophomore on the return team.


“Ron is certainly a guy that participated well in special teams and had a great coach’s offseason,” he said. “I think he is going to get an opportunity to play and I also think he will start in our kickoff return unit out there next to Trindon [Holliday].”


Brooks, of course, is ready for the wait to be over.


"I am excited to be out there because I have always wanted to be in the return spot since I got to LSU," he said. "I am just ready to get out and run with Trindon."




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