Spring: Day 10 Practice Report

The LSU football team worked outdoors on Thursday for the 10th practice of the spring. How did things stack up in the opening media session?

Starting with the offensive line, the first team unit was Alex Hurst, Will Blackwell, P.J. Lonergan, Josh Dworaczyk and Joseph Barksdale. They were working on zone blocking against a three and five technique on the strong side and then the same on the weak before coach Greg Studrawa starting changing the defensive alignments on them. 

Josh Wiliford was in a non-contact jersey, but he still participated in the drills - which looked more like technique drills rather than full speed contact. Coach Stud probably has them go 75% so that he can observe things like hand placement, footwork and hat placement, along with getting to the right assignment. 

Some of the younger offensive linemen are having trouble getting their hands inside on the defender’s numbers, and coach Stud was calling them out on it. There was a lot of yelling today because of bad technique, but for the most part the big guys were getting to the correct assignment. After a few easy reads for the zone, Coach Stud started calling out under-center audibles and putting the defense in “worst case scenarios” to see what the guys would do. From what I saw, they responded well.

The line also worked on dealing with stunts and slants against their blocking scheme, where they would end up blocking the first person that came across their facemask or would chip to a linebacker. It was nice to see the line adjust on the run with no mistakes during our allotted time. The techniques need to be better as coach pointed out that the feet, hat and hands need to be in sync on every play. 

Greg Shaw appeared to be quick off the ball with quick feet, but he is very top heavy and gets his weight shifted sometimes. Joseph Barksdale seems to have the best grasp on what is going on as he has really taken a leadership role on correcting the young guy’s mistakes. Cordian Hagans and Chris Faulk are big bodies, but they appear very raw and caught the sharp end of Coach Stud’s tongue a few times for using “flipper arms” or not moving their feet after contact.  Dworaczyk looked the best today in the Big Cat drill, which is your best view on how the guys will do in live action aside from a scrimmage or game.

The wide receivers and tight ends worked on the usual fade, 10-yard stop, out and in routes with the tight ends really working on finding a void against a zone defense. Reuben Randle once again did not drop a pass and ran perfect routes. Randle really does such a good job on getting his knees and arms moving that even a simple 10-yard out route is tough on the eyes to decide on which way he is going. John Williams was not dressed out but the word is that he is fine and should be back very soon after probably tweaking something in the weight room.

The defensive line was working on pass rush first steps and was split into tackles and ends. It appears that Pep Levingston and Drake Nevis have a stranglehold on the starting positions, but it is also obvious that big Michael Brockers and Josh Downs can definitely play on any down.  Josh Downs absolutely crushed Cordian Hagans in the Big Cat drill, and he appears physically ready after injury.

The linebackers were all back with Lamin Barrow shedding the green jersey. They worked on the distance tackle drill for most of the session. It appears the past couple of practices have been all about quickness and one-on-one tackling against shifty ball carriers.

Coach Chavis also added in a simple lateral movement drill where a ball carrier moves side-to-side any way he wants while the linebacker must have his hands behind his back and keep his eyes on the hips of the ball carrier for about 30 seconds.

Kelvin Sheppard was the best at this, and even when he was the ball carrier, his quickness is outstanding. It is very evident that LSU was very lucky to get No. 11 back for his senior year. While Lamin Barrow has very good tackling skills, it is apparent that he lacks the lateral movement of Baker, Francois and Sheppard. Francois has a very good “pop” in his initial contact, but gets pushed back if he locks in with an offensive lineman. Kevin Minter showed great strength today going against Kellen Theriot.  

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