Spring Day 2: Practice Report

For the second straight day, the LSU football team worked indoors at the Tiger practice facility. Here is a recap on what the opening five sessions offered.

Forced to practice at the indoor facility once again, the LSU football team worked without pads or shells once more. Currently, head coach Les Miles has the team set for their first shells practice on Wednesday and first full pads workout on Saturday.

Offensively, much was the same as Monday.

Running backs coach Frank Wilson worked out his top backs in the following order: Richard Murphy, Stevan Ridley and Mike Ford. Sophomore Dominique Allen, headed into his first spring with the team, continues to get first team reps at fullback. Thomas Parsons, who was sidelined on Monday, worked out without a green jersey on Tuesday. The early money is on those two names being the men to battle it out this spring for the fullback job. Miles also noted his anticipation for the summer months, a time when the Tigers will add freshman fullback names such Brandon Worle and Travis Dickson.

So far, Murphy has separated himself from the group with his great explosion, and he doesn’t seem to favor his knee at all. For a player that has suffered ACL injuries to both knees, that is the best news you can get. After talking with Murphy on Monday, the senior feels like he and Ridley will provide a great 1-2 combination. By now fans know what both runners are about, Murphy kicks it outside and Ridley runs between the tackles; but expect the experienced tandem to be poised for their biggest offseason workouts to date. Mind you, this is the first spring that either back has been within two spots of the starting job. Expected to carry the workload in 2010, both guys look to be in great shape.

At wide receiver, the order was Terrance Toliver, Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard. The battle after that appears to be between Jhyryn Taylor and Chris Tolliver. Both guys have solid hands and great quickness, so it should be a battle to watch.

As for the top guys, Toliver and Randle look solid. Shepard has dropped a lot of balls, but he also has never been a receiver. He said on Monday that wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales has challenged him to catch up and get to the same level as the other guys. With two big bodies on the outside and Shepard in the slot, Jordan Jefferson has a number of options. Factor in the progression that Deangelo Peterson has made a tight end, and the Tigers shouldn’t miss a beat with their development – even with the loss of senior Brandon LaFell. Toliver has proven himself, and Randle and Shepard have most of their biggest moments in front of them. However, on name alone, this trio of wideouts is certainly one of the best looking in the Southeastern Conference.

Jefferson continued to work as the starter at quarterback. Jarrett Lee worked as the backup, trailed by Chris Garrett.

Defensively, the line worked out with the same first team as day one – a group that most assumed would be named starters. Chancey Aghayere and Lavar Edwards are on the outsides, and Drake Nevis and Pep Levingston worked on the inside at tackle.

The number two group on Tuesday was KeKe Mingo and Sam Montgomery on the ends and Mike Brockers and Bennie Logan as the tackles. When it comes to speed on the outside, Mingo and Montgomery are your go-to guys. JUCO transfer Ken Adams’ frame is more similar to Montgomery’s than the heavier ends like Edwards, but the same speed up the field doesn’t appear to be there. As he fights to crack the two-deep, Adams is definitely a name to keep a watch on.

Sophomore Josh Downs worked out by himself on the sidelines for the second straight day.

Ryan Baker was missing from the linebacker unit on Tuesday. His weak side spot was filled by redshirt freshman Lamin Barrow. Barrow has certainly filled out since his high school days, but is he ready to play a backup role in the SEC? Without much depth at linebacker, it appears the Tiger coaching staff won’t have a choice. This is one position that freshman could help fill depth at right away, whether it be an Eric Reid or Justin Maclin.

The starting unit appears to be Baker, Kelvin Sheppard and Stefoin Francois. With Karnell Hatcher sidelined, Francois is getting the opening cracks at the strong side spot – which Harry Coleman filled in 2009. The unit is fast, but again, there is not much depth outside the big names. That means guys like Kevin Minter have the chance to lock up the spots behind the starting three.

Jai Eugene and Brandon Taylor continued to work at safety, with Craig Loston also taking reps with the starting names. Expect the three of them to battle for the two spots.

Morris Claiborne and Patrick Peterson are the starting cornerbacks so far for defensive backs coach Ron Cooper. Ron Brooks, who has tried out both safety and cornerback during his time with the Tigers, appears to be one of the best options outside of the top two guys. With a solid spring, Brooks can land a spot as the No. 3 corner.

TigerSportsDigest.com will have video of the Tigers on both offense and defense later tonight. Check back each day this week for full coverage of LSU’s 2010 Spring Workouts.

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