Thursday Practice Report
Claiborne helping young CBs along
By RICHARD FISCHER
Tiger Rag Assistant Editor
In preparation for another scrimmage on Saturday, the pads continued to pop loudly in the Charles McClendon Practice Facility at Thursday’s practice.
As what seemingly has become a staple of Les Miles’ spring football practices, the ‘Big Cat’ Drill was again in full display for the media.
Among the dominant winners were James Wright over Ryan St. Julien, Chris Tolliver over St. Julien and J.C. Copeland over D.J. Welter, but it’s not necessarily an indictment on the losers as going against those Tigers are surely a set of daunting tasks.
When the team split up into position drills, quarterback Zach Mettenberger appeared to have better footwork and accuracy than he had at the beginning of spring practices.
Armand Williams struggled with the sun on fade routes a little bit as he dropped a pass in the corner of the end zone and stopped his route short of the pass on his next opportunity.
Chris Davenport continued working with the offensive line with his new number of 73, but he is still watching more than participating from what the media can see.
On the injury front, linebacker Lamin Barrow returned to practice after being sidelined when the media were allowed in on Tuesday due to a concussion.
Barrow didn’t practice in a green jersey, but he was the only Tiger not in shoulder pads, and he only made minimal, non-violent contact during drills.
He told reporters after practice that he is only taking it slow for precautionary reasons, and he will be ready to go for Saturday’s scrimmage.
Defensive end Lavar Edwards missed practice once again.
Defenders Brandon Taylor and Sam Montgomery are still practicing in their green jerseys with minimal contact.
Running back Spencer Ware has been upgraded back to a white uniform, but he might as well have still been in green, because it was very obvious he and fellow back Kenny Hilliard were taking it much easier than the rest of the group during blocking drills.
As the media were being ushered toward the door, cornerback Mo Claiborne sat down to get his left ankle taped, but in post-practice interviews, he said it was only because his tape-job to begin practice was too tight.
But placing tape on a once injured ankle isn’t the only void the upperclassman corner has to fill during spring practices.
He’s also being asked the fill the leadership shoes of who could be the top pick in April’s NFL Draft, Patrick Peterson.
The Shreveport native said he hasn’t put a lot of emphasis on being the secondary’s leader, but he’s happy to help the slew of talented youngsters when asked to do so.
“I’ve been here for a little while, got a little playing time under my belt, so most of the guys come to me, and I try to be as good of a role model as I can,” said Claiborne.
Of course we all know what Tyrann Mathieu is capable of after his stellar freshman campaign, but another cornerback who has been turning heads is Tharold Simon.
“[Simon] is way more physical than he was last year. He’s more comfortable in the scheme of things,” said Claiborne. “I can tell he wants to learn, because he’s asking more questions than he was last year.”
LSU’s former All-American corner always said that if Simon learned to use his arms, with his length, he could be a great Tiger CB, and it’s those kinds of improvements from the youngsters that keeps Claiborne motivated to earn a starting cornerback job, even as the only upperclassmen of the bunch.
“Each and every day I don’t come out there like I know my job is locked up,” said Claiborne. “This is LSU. Everybody is good. You’ve got to compete each and every day.”
Saturday’s scrimmage is closed to the public, but Les Miles will meet with the media following the scrimmage, and Tigerrag.com will bring you the latest.