Early Observations

After the first morning session with full pads, head coach Les Miles met with the media to discuss the developments of fall practice.

The LSU football team combined the freshmen and varsity for a full pads workout on Tuesday at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

Starting with his quarterbacks, the Tiger headman praised the development of both Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson. With two experienced arms on board headed into the fall, Miles said that the path for the third pro-style quarterback is becoming clear.

“We are hopeful that we can redshirt Garrett,” Miles said. “I don’t know if we are ready to say that’s what will happen because it is still early, but we are hopeful.”

Garrett, who has impressed since joining the team in January, is one of a number of breakout players from the 2009 class. With the rest of the gang now in Baton Rouge, how does the signing class stack up?

“Some of those guys look like they are not rookies, and some of them look like rookies,” Miles said. “It depends on who they are. We have some drills that are pretty revealing. Some guys step in and compete very well.”

One name that could step in immediately and contribute is Dominique Allen, the 5-foot-11, 255-pound bruiser out of Paris, Tenn. Miles said that after his first day of full contact in pads, Allen stated his case – and a fullback position that looked bleak after Stevan Ridley’s injury in the spring has now stocked the cupboard full of healthy bodies.

“I liked Allen and [James] Stampley,” Miles said. “And, I am not ready to say that Tyler Edwards can’t do it. [Richard] Dugas is coming off a knee injury, so we are still waiting to get him back, and I will like him as well once he gets healthy.”

At receiver, Miles sung the praises of junior Terrance Toliver – whose physical transformation in the offseason has the Hempstead, Texas native looking the best he has in three seasons.

“We want him to play his position and play it well, because he can make an impact on that side,” Miles said.  “At times he will be the choice, and if he snags it and goes he will start hurting defenses. I think both [LaFell and Toliver] have the talent you need to run the perimeter because they are great targets and have speed and ball skills.”

Defensively, the song remained the same across the front line with Rahim Alem, Drake Nevis, Al Woods and Pep Levingston running with the ones.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis’ linebacker corps was Perry Riley, Jacob Cutrera and Kelvin Sheppard, with one-time safety Harry Coleman sliding in on the outside for extra help. Freshman Kevin Minter backed up Cutrera in the middle.

The secondary is the area that has seen notable change, specifically Jai Eugene running ahead of Chris Hawkins at cornerback and Brandon Taylor getting first team reps at strong safety.

“I think we have some talent back there, certainly,” Miles said. “We are looking for the best, and it is a very close race. Brandon Taylor is a talented guy, and I also like Ron Brooks and Karnell Hatcher. All three of them had good days [Tuesday].

“Jai is competing like heck, also,” Miles added. “He cut a little weight and is faster. I really enjoyed his tackling early on, and he made a couple of plays [Tuesday].”


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