Minutes after his team broke their huddle and shuffled into the locker room, LSU head coach Les Miles addressed the media on hand at the Tiger indoor facility.
Though the headman lost his voice after the first day of camp, the excitement in his tone could still be felt.
“That was a lot of fun to watch,” said Miles with a smile. “There is some talent there, and we are excited.”
Though he watched his entire roster work through drills on the day, the work done by a freshmen crop of defensive linemen was what caught Miles’ attention – justifying why he spent nearly all of the allotted time during the afternoon media session with the group.
“I was watching the young defensive linemen, trying to get a take on the guys we have in there,” Miles said. “There will be some talented guys. I like [Keke] Mingo, and he made his presence felt. The line will be fine, and they all stand out.”
The other names that will provide depth at the spot include Chris Davenport, Mike Brockers, Josh Downs, Sam Montgomery, Bennie Logan and Chase Clement.
One name missing from the unit is Cordian Hagans, who worked out with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa for the first time as a Tiger.
“We moved Hagans to the offensive side, where he lined up at left guard,” Miles said. “He is very new to the spot, but if he accepts the rigors of learning, he will be a very talented offensive lineman.”
Miles also split up centers T-Bob Hebert and PJ Lonergan between the two sessions, while freshman Josh Williford was the lone Tiger missing from the bunch.
“We gave maximum reps to our best guys, with T-Bob getting all the reps in the afternoon and PJ in the morning,” Miles said. “It gives us greater experience, and we will put players between the morning and afternoon practices based on what is optimal at each position.
“With Josh, he is having to deal with some conditioning issues, and we are working with him as we go forward.”
When asked who impressed on the afternoon, Miles turned to the offensive side of the ball for an answer.
“[Rueben] Randle looked good,” he said. “I think the quarterbacks [Shepard and Garrett] that were with us in the spring gave us the opportunity to call our plays and they knew what to do, and that progressed the young guys in practice. We got a lot more done.”
Freshman Morris Claiborne, who showed good hands and quick feet during his first workouts with the team, also caught the headman’s eye.
“I think Mo can play corner or wide receiver, and we just want to figure out where,” Miles said. Miles went on to say that he would work the Shreveport-native out at both spots over the next few weeks.
Brandon Taylor, who worked at cornerback in 2008, was with the safeties to start camp.
“Brandon can play corner, and corner is an easy mental position,” Miles said. “If we can dual train him and give us flexibility, that will help.”
Dominique Allen, who checked in at 255 pounds, also drew a few words from the man in charge.
“That young fullback is a big man,” Miles laughed. “Allen is going to be a good player. I am looking at giving him the ball and see if he can carry it.”
Miles went on to say that the staff would work Allen down in weight, though he was not specific on what range they wanted him at come Saturdays this fall.
Tahj Jones, who Miles had previously said was close to qualifying, was cleared on Thursday.
“I expect that he will be out there [Friday],” Miles said.
Before closing out the day, Miles made one thing clear on the coming weeks.
“I promise that there will not be a practice that we have once we come together as a team that will be a greater test of being in shape,” he said. “They performed well, and it was a test.”