Monday, August 10, 2009

Fall Practice Begins; Recruiting Notes; Baseball Loses Signee

First, some housekeeping. I apologize for not posting any updates in nearly a week, but I've been out of town and out of touch. Also don't forget that if you're not signed up for the e-mail updates but would like to be notified any time a new post is made, then just enter your e-mail address in the box to your right and follow the directions.


The 2009 LSU Football Team is together and practice is underway. The Tigers have gone through four days of practice thus far, and the team has been split into two separate practices each day. The staff has been working with the veterans and first teamers in morning sessions while coaching up the freshman and younger players in the evenings. This way, the freshmen gain valuable attention from the coaching staff and the veterans receive plenty of repetitions. I've read all the updates and watched all the videos. And while the media can only view 20 minutes of practice each day, they've been able to pick up on a few things. Here are a few notes to pass along:

Quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee are both taking charge more on the field and look like team leaders rather than the freshmen they were a year ago.

Freshman quarterback Chris Garrett looks very solid while Russell Shepard continues to display his athletic ability, but also his lack of polish as a passer.

Freshman running back Mike Ford (pictured right)really stands out physically. He's built like a veteran and looks to be a strong candidate to contribute this season.

Sophomore Stevan Ridley, who suffered a knee injury in the spring, is out practicing with the team and hasn't shown any signs of being anything less than full speed.

Freshman fullback Dominique Allen is a big kid, easily over 250 pounds. But he's impressively nimble on his feet for a guy his size. #33 will almost certainly see the field this season.

PJ Lonergan and T-Bob Hebert are competing for the starting center position. In the offseason, Hebert was believed to be the guy who would end up winning the position. However, Lonergan has been working with the first team a bit more to this point.

Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Cordian Hagans has moved to offensive guard.

True freshman Chris Faulk has worked some with the veterans as a backup tackle.

Brandon Lafell and Terrance Toliver stand out at wide receiver as the top two guys. Lafell has taken on a leadership role and has been like another coach on the field. As expected, competition abounds for the #3 receiver slot but seniors Chris Mitchell and RJ Jackson have the inside track right now.

Former wide receiver Deangelo Peterson is up to 240 pounds and looks like a serious threat as a receiving tight-end. He could be a guy that really stretches the field.

Star freshman receiver Reuben Randle has looked good. But he's been overshadowed a bit by fellow true freshman Morris Claiborne who has unexpectedly impressed everyone. Claiborne spent two days at receiver and was then bumped up to practice with the veterans as a defensive back. He continued to shine in the secondary. It's unclear where on the field Claiborne will find a home but based on this small sample size, Claiborne appears to be one of the gems of this new group of freshmen.

My own observation is that the defensive linemen all look a bit lighter and better conditioned than they did a year ago. Guys like Drake Nevis, Al Woods, and Pep Levingston look better proportioned and light on their feet.

Jacob Cutrera and Perry Riley look entrenched as starters in the middle and on the weakside respectively. Kelvin Shephard and Harry Coleman are competing for the starting job on the strongside. Sophomore Ryan Baker is up to 220 pounds and still looks very quick.

Freshman linebackers Barkevious Mingo and Kevin Minter have stood out. Mingo moved up to practice with the veterans for one day.

In the secondary, Patrick Peterson (pictured) and Chris Hawkins look to be the starters right now at cornerback. But Jai Eugene is competing with Hawkins for a position. Chad Jones has been working at free safety. But the other safety position is totally up for grabs. In a bit of a surprise, sophomore Brandon Taylor worked with the starters at strong safety in the first practice. Taylor was previously a cornerback, but the new defensive coaches have maintained they want the best players on the field. By cross-training Taylor at safety, it seems the staff is keeping true to their word. Karnell Hatcher and Ron Brooks are competing with Taylor as well. All of the guys mentioned above will likely see the field a good bit this season.

Sophomore safety Stefoin Francois has returned from injury and is practicing. He looks like he's in fantastic physical condiition.

Sophomore linebacker / fullback Kellen Theriot has not been with the team thus far, and it's apparently due to an issue with an injury.

True freshman safety Craig Loston is not with the team right now because he's still waiting to get cleared academically. It's unclear whether the hold-up is due to the NCAA Clearinghouse or whether Loston still has to finish some course work. LSU hopes to get him to practice once classes start near the end of August.


Georgia linebacker Michael Taylor committed to Tennessee. LSU was recruiting Taylor.

BASEBALL reported late last week that LSU signee Zach Von Rosenburg has decided to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates rather than play college baseball at LSU. This was a significant loss for LSU, as they were expecting Zach to come to LSU.


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