Special thanks to Matt Moscona for much of the information found in this report.
Video of morning session.
Video of afternoon session.
Saturday morning marked the first practice in shoulder pads for the LSU football team during this fall camp. It will also be the final day of split squad workouts with the freshmen and select veterans practicing Saturday afternoon and a full squad workout on Sunday.
1. The defense began the day by running full unit interception drills against air. There were enough players to make up two full defensive units. At the snap of the ball, the defensive line would hold position while the linebackers and defensive backs dropped into coverage with a different DB being targeted each time. The drill would finish with the entire unit sprinting to one corner of the end zone leading the ball carrier to a touchdown.
2. The first defensive unit was Barkevious Mingo, Josh Downs, Bennie Logan, Sam Montgomery, Tahj Jones, Kevin Minter, Lamin Barrow, Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon, Eric Reid and Craig Loston.
3. The second defensive unit was Lavar Edwards, Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson, Chancey Aghayere, Deion Jones, Ronnie Feist, Lamar Louis, Jalen Collin, Jalen Mills, Ronald Martin and Micah Eugene.
4. Barkevious Mingo was still wearing a green “no contact” jersey but was not slowed.
5. We saw Frank Wilson become pretty vocal with his group of running backs this morning. While working on ball security drills, Wilson was pretty animated with Spencer Ware urging him to get his feet up and “attack.” Wilson even pointed out three runs Ware made from 2011 where he went down to shoestring tackles including two against Ole Miss where Ware popped up and slapped the ball in disappointment. “That’s how a 10 yard run becomes a 40 yard touchdown,” Wilson said. “That’s how you become different.”
6. The running back rotation looks like Ware, Blue, Ford, and Hilliard with Copeland and Neighbors as the FBs.
7. Freshman Travian Dural replaced Paul Turner in the veterans practice Saturday morning.
8. Yet again the play of the day came from Jarvis Landry. On the 30-yard fades, Zach Mettenberger lofted a ball to the pylon on the front left corner of the end zone. Landry waited until the last moment and then lay out fully extended to make a diving catch as he crossed the goal line in mid air.
9. Zach Mettenberger has improved his accuracy on the run tremendously. This was probably his most obvious weakness when he first arrived on campus, but clearly is not an issue anymore.
10. Russell Shepard made an impressive one-handed catch over his back shoulder on a fade route as well. Shepard and Kadron Boone both had drops on the 15-yard dig routes.
11. The running backs also worked on running routes while lined up in the slot. This could be a potential compensation for the lack of a strong pass catching option at tight end.
12. Both Mettenberger and Rivers spent time working on option pitch plays with the running backs.
LSU finished its final day of split squad workouts with an afternoon practice Saturday featuring freshmen and select veterans. Here are some notes on the afternoon:
1. Penn State transfer quarterback Rob Bolden is a legitimate 6’4, 215 pounds. He took the first reps in the afternoon practice ahead of redshirt freshman Jerrard Randall and walk-on Brad Kragthorpe. On every pass—fades, digs, screens—Bolden stood out as the most talented passer. He has a quick release, excellent touch on deep balls and looks effortless when he throws. It is easy to see why he was so coveted as a prospect coming out of high school two years ago.
2. That said about Bolden, Randall’s accuracy and release have improved tremendously.
3. All three quarterbacks worked on option plays near the goal line with the running backs.
4. Paul Turner did not practice with the veterans this morning and was not at the afternoon practice either. No reason was given.
5. Two veterans that did practice Saturday afternoon were Jarrett Fobbs and Armand Williams. Both are struggling holding onto the ball.
6. Jeremy Hill and Terrance Magee were the only two running backs working in the afternoon. Rumor is that Hill has lost 20 pounds and he looks it, maybe comparing more to Alfred Blue than Kenny Hilliard now. Magee looks as though he has put on weight, especially in his lower body. He compares physically to Michael Ford and showed no signs of being slowed by his injury.
7. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Quentin Thomas has clearly made the most of his redshirt year. He is the most physically imposing DT of the afternoon group. If the Tigers didn’t have a five-man rotation at the position already, he might be in line for playing time.
8. Freshman defensive end Danielle Hunter is tall and rangy but absolutely must put on good weight before he can play in the SEC. Still, he is impressive and should be a good one in the years to come.
9. Corey Thompson will make Tiger fans forget the loss of star safety recruit Landon Collins.