The one major name missing from the afternoon practice was wide receiver Terrance Toliver, who was tasered twice by Baton Rouge police on Saturday evening following a fight in the Tigerland area.
After reviewing the police report on Tuesday morning, Miles called for an afternoon press conference to discuss the matter. He will meet with the media immediately following practice.
Once again, Josh Downs, Jhyryn Taylor and Karnell Hatcher were not participating.
On to practice, the team opened the media session with the Big Cat Drill – which can be seen on TSD TV’s footage from Tuesday afternoon’s practice.
The matchups were James Stampley vs. Kyle Prater, Rueben Randle vs. Ron Brooks, Bennie Logan vs. Will Blackwell, Matt Branch vs. Sam Montgomery, Stevan Ridley vs. Tahj Jones and John Williams vs. Ryan St. Julien.
The bout that got the team the rowdiest was Jones and Ridley, a matchup that Jones – a redshirt freshman versus starting running back – absolutely dominated, pushing Ridley back from the start.
Randle and Blackwell both pushed their competition back. Montgomery was able to get Branch backed up, but the offensive lineman used Montgomery’s forward momentum to throw him down to the ground.
When the team broke away from the drill, the rest of the practice session played out as it did throughout the first week. Each group broke up with their position coaches, with the defense and running backs indoors and the quarterbacks, receivers and offensive line still outside.
Wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales was working the guys out with their moves off the line of scrimmage. While he has emphasized the physicality of pushing past the defensive back in prior practices, today was focused on stressing the cuts that the routes required. Each guy had his moments, and nobody went without some extra instruction. Russell Shepard caught the ball well and even nabbed a one-hander, but without Toliver, Randle was the standout of the group. With Gonzales in his ear each afternoon, I can only imagine how good Randle is going to get over these next six months.
The running backs and offensive line worked out in the same order that they did in week one. For Frank Wilson’s backs, it was Richard Murphy (green non-contact jersey), Ridley and Mike Ford. For Greg Studrawa’s line, it was (left to right) Joseph Barksdale, Josh Dworaczyk, P.J. Lonergan, Will Blackwell and Alex Hurst.
Defensively, Craig Loston was dressed in a green non-contact jersey for the first time this spring. There was no word on his injury. He was dressed in full pads, but stood on the sidelines without running through drills for the entire time the media was allotted. Brandon Taylor and Jai Eugene were the safeties, with Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne as the corners.
When running through ball pursuit drills, Claiborne is right alongside Peterson when it comes to fluidity and consistency with the catch. The defensive back with the longest arms, Claiborne certainly looks the part. His transformation in one year, from Fair Park High to LSU, is very impressive.
The linebackers were Ryan Baker (Will), Kelvin Sheppard (Mike) and Stefoin Francois (Sam). This was the same group that worked out together all last week, and I expect that they are the three names that defensive coordinator John Chavis really wants to roll with. Francois is definitely continuing to make strides. He is one of the more aggressive guys on that side of the ball.
On the line, the group was broken up with guys getting individual work. I watched Drake Nevis and Mike Brockers work on getting past the left guard, a drill that coach Joe Robinson stressed handwork on. Nevis was really explosive, and Robinson continued to credit him for perfect technique. Brockers, the much bigger body, got some good reviews from both Nevis and Robinson after he got the correct hand placement on only a few short tries.
Continue to check back here throughout the evening as we will bring you both video and a report from Miles on the Toliver situation and day’s practice.