Spring practice underway (audio included)
Rain moved opening session indoors
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Acting Editor
Monday marked the first of 15 scheduled practices for LSU during spring workouts. Due to a nasty storm, the two-hour session was moved indoors at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
Media was allowed in for a 30-minute window, then returned for interviews with Coach Miles and a select group of players.
From my time at practice, here are some news and notes:
- The Tigers were in helmets only and will be again on Tuesday. They will move to helmets and shoulder pads for Wednesday and Thursday practices before conducting their first full-pad session on Saturday.
- During drills with wide receivers, the throwing order for quarterbacks: Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee, Chris Garrett, T.C. McCartney, then Barrett Bailey.
- New coach Billy Gonzales was very hands-on with the wide-outs, putting them through a highly scrutinized drill of catch, tuck and covering the point of the football. The WRs conducted this drill while catching hitch routes, then slant routes from the QBs listed above.
- Alex Hurst, who played in 12 games at guard last season, spent some time at tackle on Monday. This lends credence to the theory that, with Hurst giving depth to the tackle tandem of Barksdale and Dworaczyk, Josh Williford may step in and start at a guard spot. Miles sure is high on Williford.
- S Karnell Hatcher (groin) and DT Josh Downs (thigh) were not able to practice Monday. Hatcher spent most of the session jogging - with some short bursts in between - on the sidelines while Downs was working out on a bicycle. FB Thomas Parsons was also limited.
- WR Terrance Toliver sure does stretch that No. 8 out a lot more than former donner Trindon Holliday. Toliver, along with Russell Shepard and Rueben Randle, were at the head of the line for most of the receiver’s drills.
- LB Stefoin Francois and DL Michael Brockers looked like two guys who spent a lot of time in the weight room since New Year’s Day. Good thing, too, because Francois is making the transition from safety to outside linebacker (a la Harry Coleman) and Brockers is moving inside from end to tackle on the D-Line. Expect both to see a lot of the field this upcoming season.
QUOTES FROM MONDAY
Coach Les Miles
“The first practice was a fast-paced one. The responsibility to wear just a helmet certainly curtails the activity, but it was good. It was nice to get back on the field. A football team does not improve in football unless they’re on the field practicing.”
“It was nice seeing some of the young players on the field playing for an opportunity to get to the field on Saturdays, guys like Sam Montgomery looked pretty good. Some of the veterans, Kelvin Sheppard and Lavar Edwards looked pretty good. It was nice to see Joseph Barksdale back and getting after it. I liked our quarterbacks, and all three of them threw the ball pretty well - Chris Garrett, as well as Jarrett Lee and or starter in Jordan Jefferson.”
“We’ll be moving guys around. We’re going to look at some different things. It’s going to be a very productive spring.”
WR Terrance Toliver
“I’m pretty much one of the only seasoned guys (at WR), but Russell and Rueben have a lot of talent, and they’re gonna be ready this year.”
“I had to change my number. It’s a new deal for me this year, stepping up to be a leader. I’m the oldest guy here, so it’s just trying to be a leader.”
“Gonzales is on us 24-seven. He’s calling us, texting us, asking us if we’re doing drills and things like that. Coach Miles has got a little fire up under him, too. And Coach Crowton, (he) usually doesn’t fuss, but now he’s a little more hands-on.”
CLICK HERE to listen to the interview with WR Terrance Toliver in its entirety.
CB Patrick Peterson
“I feel great (about getting involved with punt returns) because I’m used to touching the ball. In high school, I was always touching the ball, always involved. At least with returning punts, that’s almost like offense. So that’s gonna be a pretty nice piece for me.”
“I don’t know about kickoffs, but right now I’m on punt (returns).”
“Young guy, Morris Claiborne, is gonna be pretty good. He’s just gotta get in there and learn the schemes … Right now, he’s pretty good with the press. He can run with anybody, he’s got world-class speed. I’m excited to see him play, more than he’s excited to see himself play.”
“A lot more intensity going into the spring. Guy’s were ready to get out there last week, but coach pushed it back.”
“(The message for this year is) win a lot of games and get back to the dance.”
CLICK HERE to listen to the interview with CB Patrick Peterson in its entirety.
WR Russell Shepard
“So two days after the Florida game I went to Coach Miles and I approached him in his office and said ‘Coach, I think it’s time for me to make a position change.’ He really fought me … I said ‘Nah, coach, I think I can be better suited for this team at a skill position.”
“Terrance Toliver’s our leader at the receiver position, and I’m gonna follow him. At the same time, I’m going to push him as well as the other receivers to be the best.”
“(Last season) it wasn’t necessarily me struggling (picking up the offense). It was that I had three positions. I had to know the whole quarterback playbook as well as the whole receivers playbook as well as the whole running back playbook. So, like Coach Miles said, it was a lot thrown at a freshman, at a 18 or 17 year-old dude … At one point I was spending 30 minutes in a receiving room, 20 minutes in a running backs room and probably an hour in the quarterbacks room.”
“The biggest challenge is catching up. I was probably a running back all my life. Even at the quarterback position (in high school) I had 30-40 carries a game as a quarterback. So, learning the receiver position in six or seven months is a huge deal. It’s something I’ve been able to pick up pretty easy because Coach Gonzales and I have spent a lot of time together.”
“Route-running is something that is very unique and very technical, and it’s something you have to learn.”
CLICK HERE to listen to the interview with WR Russell Shepard in its entirety.
* Check back soon for a photo gallery from Monday’s practice.