After spending only two practices outdoors this spring, the LSU football team was finally given a string of sunny days that allowed workouts to move to the grass fields for the first time this week.
Once more, the team opened practice with the Big Cat Drill, the LSU staff’s version of the Oklahoma Drill. Today, however, offered a few more matchups than previous afternoons had. Things kicked off with P.J. Lonergan vs. Chris Davenport, Mitch Joseph vs. Ken Adams, Stevan Ridley vs. Lamin Barrow, Russell Shepard vs. Rockey Duplessis, Chris Faulk vs. Mike Brockers, Rueben Randle vs. Drayton Calhoun, Greg Shaw vs. Sam Montgomery and Mike Ford vs. Josh Johns.
All of the offensive linemen were hit with losses, while Ford and Duplessis both landed relatively easy wins. Randle looked strong against Calhoun.
Once the team broke into the individual drills, all eyes were on Terrance Toliver, who suffered a broken left hand in an off-campus fight last weekend. While head coach Les Miles made it clear that Toliver would practice through his injury, it will be interesting to see how the next eight practices play out. It was very clear that the hand – which is casted and taped – is hampering his performance. Most times he attempted catches with only his right hand. When he put both hands, Toliver would stop the ball’s momentum with his right hand before allowing it to reach his chest.
When it came to the passers, Jordan Jefferson continues to look more and more sound. Today, there was a clear gap from Jefferson to Jarrett Lee and Chris Garrett. Garrett, who spent a good amount of time in extra one-on-one talks with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, had a hard time with his throws when rolling out. If Garrett is going to jump Lee and become the team’s number two option, it hasn’t happened yet.
The line is sticking with the same rotation as well. Joseph Barksdale was at left tackle, Josh Dworaczyk at left guard, P.J. Lonergan at center, Will Blackwell at right guard and Alex Hurst at right tackle. The second unit was Greg Shaw at right tackle, Josh Williford at right guard, T-Bob Hebert at center, Cordian Hagans at left guard and Chris Faulk at left tackle. From everything I can gather, the first five will likely be LSU’s starting unit next September.
On the defensive line, coach Brick Haley worked the team out on the sleds in pairs. The ends and tackles each ran together. Drake Nevis and Pep Levingston remained the first team on the inside, with Chancey Aghayere and Lavar Edwards the first team on the edges. Josh Downs was still on the sidelines, though Miles said that he expects to have the Bastrop standout back before spring ends.
The team also hopes to have Karnell Hatcher, who is battling a groin injury, back sometime during the next eight practices. So far this spring, Hatcher has yet to dress out.
When he returns, Hatcher, a current safety, could end up at outside linebacker – one of the thinnest spots on the team – behind Stefoin Francois. If he remains in the defensive backfield, he will be added to a safety group that already holds the likes of Brandon Taylor, Jai Eugene and Craig Loston. On Thursday, both Eugene and Taylor were dressed in green non-contact jerseys.
Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne were the cornerbacks, followed by Ron Brooks and Ryan St. Julien. This order has been consistent throughout, and from the looks of it Brooks will be joining the top two when three corners are needed.
Be sure to check back later this evening for both video and pictures from the day’s session.