LSU practiced in shells (helmet, shoulder pads and shorts) for the first time of fall camp and the media was allowed to observe four periods which equated to 20 minutes.
Chris Faulk and Akiem Hicks continued to work with the older group at left tackle and defensive tackle, respectively. After Barkevious Mingo practiced with the veterans yesterday morning, he was replaced today by Morris Claiborne, who went through this morning’s practice at cornerback. Ryan Baker was also at the morning session after practicing in the afternoon yesterday.
As for the older players missing from today’s practice that were there yesterday, the most notable absence was Ron Brooks, who is competing for the starting strong safety spot, was replaced by Karnell Hatcher. John Williams and Ryan St. Julien were also absent. RJ Jackson returned to practice this morning after missing yesterday’s practice to attend his graduation ceremonies.
The offensive line continued to work in the same groups as yesterday. From left to right: Ciron Black, Josh Dworacyzk, PJ Lonergan, Lyle Hitt, and Joseph Barksdale, followed by Chris Faulk, Clay Spencer, Will Blackwell, Thomas Parsons, and Alex Hurst. They were joined for most of practice to work on blocking together by the tight ends, a group that again included Richard Dickson, Alex Russian, and Mitch Joseph.
The quarterbacks and receivers worked on their usual assortment of routes as they continue to try and perfect their timing with each other. They especially worked of read routes where the receiver has to read the defenders and find the soft spot in the defense to get open. The order as they went through drills was Brandon LaFell, Terrance Toliver, RJ Jackson, Chris Mitchell, Jhyryn Taylor, Jarred Joseph, and Chris Tolliver.
Aside from entering the season as one of the top receivers in the country, it appears Lafell has also taken on a new role of on-field coach. During their reps in the read routes, LaFell was calling out the soft spots for the younger guys to make sure they picked the right area to settle in. The coaches realize this as well, as every time Coach Crowton saw something he didn’t like, he turned to Lafell and told him what was done wrong, and LaFell would go talk to the player about the correction.
As for the quarterbacks, Jefferson and Lee were rotating their order in drills yet again, and both look pretty equally impressive thus far. The only ball I can recall not being on the money this morning on the short to intermediate routes was an overthrow by Jefferson to Chris Mitchell on an out route. Other than that both quarterbacks continue to look very smooth in the short passing game. There were some overthrows on the deep balls which is nothing to be alarmed about at this early juncture of camp.
The defensive line began the morning working on getting off the ball on the snap and getting proper leverage against their blockers. For the last two periods they split into their ends and tackles groups again. The ends were Rahim Alem, Pep Levingston, Chancey Aghayere, and Lavar Edwards. They were working mostly of footwork drills and reading plays. The tackles were Drake Nevis, Al Woods, Akiem Hicks, and Charles Alexander. They continued to work on getting leverage off the snap.
Something I noticed in practice yesterday afternoon, and again this morning, was Coach Haley had the ends working on most of their drills standing up instead of in a 3-point stance. That was occurring again this morning, so it looks like that is something that can be expected of the Tigers’ defensive line this season, at least in certain situations.
The linebackers spent most of the morning working on squaring themselves up to the ball carrier and driving through him to make the tackle. Coach Chavis watched intently on each rep to make sure each player was getting his hips square and wrapping up properly. For the final period they grouped into units to work on reading plays. The first unit saw Perry Riley on the weakside, Jacob Cutrera in the middle, and Kelvin Sheppard on the strongside. The second unit was Ryan Baker on the weakside, Kyle Prater in the middle, and Harry Coleman on the strongside.
The defensive backs were split into corners and safeties for most of practice. The safety group consisted of Chad Jones, Danny McCray, Brandon Taylor, and Karnell Hatcher. They worked mostly on man coverage and getting a solid bump on the receiver off the line. Jones always went first in the drills, but the other three seemed to just line up randomly.
The corners consisted of Patrick Peterson, Chris Hawkins, Jai Eugene, and the morning’s surprise, Morris Claiborne. They worked mostly on their man coverage and staying inside the receiver throughout the routes. Hawkins was usually paired with Eugene and Peterson with Claiborne.
Claiborne has been turning a lot of heads in the afternoon sessions at receiver the first two days, and while he didn’t necessarily standout in a good way this morning, he didn’t do it in a bad way either as he looked very comfortable going through drills. He is such a long, fluid athlete, so it’s not too surprising that he seems to pick up on things very quickly. He was also the tallest in the group of corners, and both Patrick Peterson and Chris Hawkins are listed at 6-1, so the speculation that Claiborne is taller than his listed 6-feet may very well be correct.
Participants today were:
QB: Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee
RB: Charles Scott, Keiland Williams, Richard Murphy, and Trindon Holliday
FB: Richard Dugas
WR: Brandon Lafell, Terrance Toliver, RJ Jackson, Chris Mitchell, Jhyryn Taylor, Jarred Joseph, and Chris Tolliver
TE: Richard Dickson, Mitch Joseph, and Alex Russian
OL: Ciron Black, Josh Dworacyzk, P.J. Lonergan, Lyle Hitt, Joseph Barksdale, Chris Faulk, Clay Spencer, Will Blackwell, Thomas Parsons, and Alex Hurst
DB: Patrick Peterson, Chris Hawkins, Jai Eugene, Morris Claiborne, Chad Jones, Danny McCray, Brandon Taylor, and Karnell Hatcher
LB: Perry Riley, Jacob Cutrera, Kelvin Sheppard, Ryan Baker, Kyle Prater, and Harry Coleman
DL: Rahim Alem, Pep Levingston, Drake Nevis, Al Woods, Chancey Aghayere, Lavar Edwards Charles Alexander, and Akiem Hicks
K/P: none on hand
That’s all for this morning’s report. We’ll have two video segments and a photo gallery up in a bit, and then we’ll be back for the freshmen practice this afternoon to do it all over again.