Spring football update
News and notes from Wednesday and Thursday practices
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Acting Editor
LSU football takes a break on Friday before the team reconvenes late-morning Saturday for a practice which will feature snippets of live scrimmaging (not a full-blown scrimmage).
The Tigers began spring work-outs indoors on Monday, practicing with no pads other than a helmet. Click anywhere in this sentence to read Tiger Rag’s report from that day as well as to listen to audio clips from a trio of players.
Tuesday brought much of the same with players going through individual and group drills in helmets. Practices Wednesday (mainly indoors) and Thursday (all outdoor) added shoulder pads, and the players responded well to their first cracks at contact in the spring.
Tiger Rag was there to bring you photos from the past two days.
Now, we’ve got news and notes on the latest from LSU football after observing the team put through its paces.
- Theme of the day was incorporating contact into drills run the previous two days testing mostly agility and footwork. The contact was largely players hitting dummies, although a few drills allowed players to knock shoulder pads, with one Tiger eventually wrapping and driving a teammate (just simulating tackling, or in some cases stalk blocking for receivers).
- There were four (and at times, five) stations set up indoors, and the players (broken down by positions) cycled through these stations, going through the type of drills referenced above.
- After stations, the offensive skill players gathered for a combined session of skeleton passing (essentially, lining up in shells sans linemen or defenders). Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton would call out formation, then a route sequence, followed by an imaginary defensive coverage. Based on that info, multiple quarterbacks would throw to the different receivers running their routes in unison, adjusting to where defenders would likely be in the coverage Crowton mentioned. Most common route combinations were outside hitch and a smash route (corner) from the slot as well as the outside deep curl and a seam route (vertical) from the slot.
- Incoming freshman QB Barrett Bailey again took his role of passer to the DB’s, throwing lobbed balls to secondary players as Brick Haley led the group through ball drills.
- WR Jhyryn Taylor was on the sidelines during practice and looked to be sitting the day out.
- Moving outside, the Tigers finally began to conduct drills in which coaches called for 1’s then 2’s to come out. In other words, it became a little more obvious Thursday who’s in the driver’s seat for starting positions.
- Building off the previous bullet, here’s an updated view of LSU’s secondary depth chart:
Starting Group: Morris Claiborne and Patrick Peterson at CB, Jai Eugene and Brandon Taylor at S.
Second-string Group: Ron Brooks and Ryan St. Julien at CB, Craig Loston and Derrick Bryant at S. NOTE: Bryant was more than likely filling in for the injured Karnell Hatcher (groin), who will man that spot upon his return.
- The offensive skill players again spent a good bit of time together in combined passing drills, with Crowton, Billy Gonzales, Frank Wilson and Steve Ensminger all coaching up their position guys. This also appeared to be the drill that most captivated Les Miles.
* The wide receivers, in particular, set out cones for this passing drill to very precisely map out routes like the corner, the post, or the inside dig. This really looked to help with route definitions and gave the QB’s a more scientific look at where the ball needs to be to hit the guy in stride.
* In that department, Jordan Jefferson’s accuracy was so-so. He consistenly put balls on the back shoulder of wide-outs as they ran inside routes (slants and digs). Not that he was completely missing his targets, but the passes lacked the kind of placement that would allow WR’s to run in rhythm. This was a departure from the past few days I witnessed, when Jefferson looked pretty sharp.
- The DB’s also began to simulate coverage, splitting the field in half to allow a two-man team (one corner and one safety, both in a standard Cover 2 look) to adjust to a wide receiver’s break off the line. The drill mainly tested positioning, when to back-peddle and when to drift inside or out. All of these things were based off the type of release taken by the WR.
Tiger Rag acting editor Ben Love will report on the football team throughout spring practices. Reach him at email@example.com.