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Live Blog: LSU Pro Day

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Return here throughout the day for photos from LSU’s Pro Day, where 17 players from the Tigers’ 2013 will compete in front of representatives of each NFL franchise.

The numbers. 

A few shots from the bench press, vertical jump and broad jump areas of Pro Day.

Jeremy Hill in the vertical jump.

Jeremy Hill in the vertical jump.

The madness surounding the bench press.

The madness surounding the bench press.

Ego Ferguson moves from the vertical jump to the bench press area.

Ego Ferguson moves from the vertical jump to the bench press area.

Odell Beckham Jr. does the same.

Odell Beckham Jr. does the same.

Rex and Rob Ryan talk.

Rex and Rob Ryan talk.

LSU OC Cam Cameron chats.

LSU OC Cam Cameron chats.

Sean Payton and Les Miles talk while surrounded by TV cameras.

Sean Payton and Les Miles talk while surrounded by TV cameras.

 

LSU football things: Miles kisses pig; Outback Bowl rings arrive

LSU coach Les Miles kissed a pig Tuesday, and the team’s Outback Bowl championship rings arrived, according to photos posted on Twitter.

Miles, as part of a charity event on campus, kissed a pig. Yeah, he did. He really did.

Meanwhile, the Tigers’ Outback Bowl rings have come in. LSU beat Iowa 21-14 in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1. Kicker Colby Delahoussaye tweeted a photo of the rings on Tuesday and so did the official account, @LSUFBEquipment.

Mettenberger to visit host of NFL teams

Former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger plans to visit a slew of NFL teams after and before this Wednesday’s Pro Day at LSU, according to a report on nationalfootballpost.com.

Zach Mettenberger doesn't need crutches anymore. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Zach Mettenberger doesn’t need crutches anymore. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Mettenberger, who spoke to us Saturday for this story, will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders. The post cites anonymous league sources.

NFL.com is also reporting the news.

Mettenberger will meet Thursday with the Jaguars and has meetings in Baton Rouge scheduled with the other teams listed above.

Mettenberger, who tore his ACL and MCL in the regular season finale against Arkansas, said Saturday that he’s 100 percent recovered from January knee surgery.

Jack Marucci, LSU’s director of athletic trainers, said Mettenberger will have no restrictions at Pro Day on Wednesday.

“If we had him in spring practice, he’d be participating in spring practice,” Marucci said Saturday.

Said Mettenberger: “I’m just ready to show how healthy I am. A lot of people don’t believe I’m as far along with my rehab as I am. I definitely plan to show Wednesday that I’m fully healthy and ready to roll.”

Mettenberger is projected as mid-to-high round pick in May’s draft.

Spring Game Observations: Harris shines and other nuggets

One big thing came out of LSU’s spring game: The battle to be LSU’s starting quarterback is real.

Freshman Brandon Harris, for the most part, out-dueled Anthony Jennings as the two traded snaps with the No. 1 group (the White Team).

Brandon Harris out-played Anthony Jennings on Saturday. (Patrick Dennis | The Advocate)

Brandon Harris out-played Anthony Jennings on Saturday. (Patrick Dennis | The Advocate)

Harris showed beautiful touch on deep passes, a knack for feeling pocket pressure and elusive feet. Jennings, at times, struggled with his deep accuracy and was sacked multiple times.

The quarterbacks’ final numbers are somewhat misleading. Harris completed 11 of 28 passes for 195 yards, tossed three touchdowns and ran for another. He ran six times for 76 yards, including a 41-yard scamper that led to a score.

Jennings was 9 for 17 for 157 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Both of his picks were returned for touchdowns. His play resembled his ugly outing in the Outback Bowl against Iowa. Jennings struggled to make accurate deep passes and was erratic in the pocket.

Other observations from the spring game:

  • Dural’s the star: For the first three quarters of the spring game, Travin Dural was the only receiver to catch a pass. He made some nice plays Saturday, including a move against cornerback Ed Paris in the end zone for a score. He finished with five catches for 130 yards and had two touchdowns.
  • Returners: LSU used several players to return kicks and punts. Here they are: John Diarse, Ed Paris, Tre-Davious White, Travin Dural, John Diarse and Avery Peterson. Paris muffed one punt.
  • Right guard battle: Hoko Fanaika started the game with the White Team (starters) at right guard, and Evan Washington started with the Purple Team. After halftime, the two swapped.
  • Hunter impresses: DE Danielle Hunter was the star of the defense, making half-dozen QB pressure and getting two sacks in the first half alone. He was going against the second-string offensive line, but, still, Hunter showed some great pass-rushing.
  • Pick 6s: Linebackers Deion Jones and Kwon Alexander each returned an interception for a touchdown during the game. They both stepped in front of short passes from Anthony Jennings.

STARTING GROUPS

White Offense

  • Offensive line: LT La’el Collins, LG Vadal Alexander, C Elliott Porter, RG Hoko Fanaika, RT Jerald Hawkins, TE Dillon Gordon
  • Receivers: Quantavius Leslie and Travin Dural
  • Quarterback: Anthony Jennings
  • Backs: RB Kenny Hilliard, FB Connor Neighbors

White Defense

  • Defensive line: DE Danielle Hunter, DT Christian LaCouture, DT Quentin Thomas, DE Tashawn Bower
  • Linebackers: OLB Kwon Alexander, MLB D.J. Welter, OLB Lamar Louis
  • Defensive backs: CB Rashard Robinson, S Rickey Jefferson, S Jalen Mills, CB Tre’Davious White

Purple Offense

  • Offensive line: LT Jonah Austin, LG K.J. Malone, C Ethan Pocic, RG Evan Washington, RT Josh Boutte
  • Receivers: John Diarse, Rob Bolden
  • Quarterback: Brandon Harris
  • Backs: FB Melvin Jones, RB Reshaud Henry

Purple Defense

  • Defensive line: DE Lewis Neal, DT Marquedius Bain, DT Greg Gilmore, DE Michael Patterson
  • Linebackers: OLB Ronnie Feist, MLB Kendell Beckwith, OLB Deion Jones
  • Defensive backs: CB Jalen Collins, S Tommy LeBeau, S  Dwayne Thomas, CB Ed Paris

Roster loaded for White team ahead of LSU’s spring game

Let the parsing and nitpicking begin. The over-analysis, too.

LSU released the rosters on Friday afternoon for the Tigers’ spring game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

A quick once-over leaves an easy conclusion; the White team is comprised mostly of starters, while the Purple squad is their understudies. Meanwhile, there is some overlap among a handful of players who could switch jerseys.

Here’s a quick breakdown. Players that are sitting out with injuries are noted, as are players moving between both rosters:

White

Offense

Quarterback

  • Anthony Jennings
  • Hayden Rettig
  • Jake Clise

Running back/Fullback

  • RB Terrence Magee
  • RB Kenny Hilliard
  • FB Bennett Schiro
  • FB Jason Cormier
  • FB Connor Neighbors

Wide Receiver/Tight End

  • WR Quantavius Leslie
  • WR Travin Dural
  • TE Travis Dickson
  • TE Dillon Gordon
  • TE DeSean Smith

Offensive Line

  • OL Alex Cheramie
  • RT Jerald Hawkins
  • RG Hoko Fanaika
  • LT La’el Collins
  • LG Vadal Alexander
  • RG Evan Washington
  • C/OL Ethan Pocic
  • C Elliott Porter

Defense

Defensive Line

  • DE Tashawn Bower
  • DE Justin Maclin
  • DE Jermauria Rasco (Out: Shoulder)
  • DT Christian LaCouture
  • DE Danielle Hunter
  • DT Frank Herron
  • DT Quentin Thomas

Linebacker

  • WLB Kwon Alexander
  • MLB D.J. Welter
  • LB Myles O’Brien
  • SLB Lamar Louis
  • LB Duke Riley (Out)
  • LB Christian Pittman

Secondary

  • S Austin Suits
  • S Micah Dickens
  • FS Corey Thompson (Out)
  • CB Tre’Davious White
  • CB Rashard Robinson
  • FS Ronald Martin
  • SS Jalen Mills
  • S Tommy LeBeau
  • S Tre’ Sullivan

Specialists

  • PK/P Trent Domingue
  • P Jamie Keehn
  • PK Alex Kjellsten
  • PK Colby Delahoussaye
  • LS Reid Ferguson
  • LS Connor LeBlanc
  • LS Logan Boudreaux

Analysis: It’s no surprise, but Jennings gets the nod with the first unit. His experience right now might be the edge over Harris at signal-caller. Meanwhile, there’s some swapping on the line, namely at right guard, where Fanaika and Washington are battling to replace Trai Turner. Pocic, meanwhile, appears set to get mixed in with porter. The depth issues at running back are somewhat apparent, along with wide receiver. But the arrival of August brings reinforcement.

On defense, it’s interesting to note Thomas has a slot over Gilmore. The rotation at end isn’t too much of a surprise. The departure of Jordan Allen, though, leaves the rotation a man short. At the second level, the experienced hand of Welter will be in the middle instead of the converted Kendell Beckwith along side mainstays in Louis and Alexander. There aren’t any surprises in the secondary.

Purple

Offense

Quarterback

  • Brandon Harris
  • Brad Kragthorpe
  • Brandon Bergeron

Running Back/Fullback

  • RB Reshaud Henry
  • RB Trevonta Herod
  • RB/FB Melvin Jones
  • FB Devonte Meullion
  • FB John David Moore

Wide Receiver/Tight End

  • WR Rob Bolden
  • WR Avery Peterson
  • WR John Diarse
  • WR Chris LaBorde
  • WR Luke Boyd
  • WR Jeffrey Lang
  • TE/P Josh Tharp
  • TE Logan Stokes
  • TE DeSean Smith (Swing)
  • TE Jake Franklin
  • WR Miguel James
  • WR Kevin Spears (Out)

Offensive Line

  • OL Cody Townsend
  • OL K.J. Malone
  • RG Hoko Fanaika (Swing)
  • LT Jonah Austin
  • OL Andy Dodd
  • RG Evan Washington (Swing)
  • OL Josh Boutte
  • C/OL Ethan Pocic (Swing)

Defense

Defensive Line

  • DE Jordan Harper
  • DT Maquedius Bain
  • DE Lewis Neal
  • DE Michael (M.J.) Patterson
  • DT Mickey Johnson (Out)
  • DT Frank Herron (Swing)
  • DT Greg Gilmore

Linebackers

  • WLB Deion Jones
  • LB Jonathan Rucker
  • LB Ronnie Feist
  • MLB Kendell Beckwith
  • LB Grant Leger

Secondary

  • CB Dwyane Thomas
  • S Lionel Williams
  • CB Ed Paris
  • CB Brandon Surtain
  • FS Rickey Jefferson
  • CB Jeremy Land
  • CB Jalen Collins
  • CB Jordan Triche

Specialists

  • PK/P Trent Domingue (Swing)
  • P Jamie Keehn (Swing)
  • PK Alex Kjellsten (Swing)
  • PK Colby Delahoussaye (Swing)
  • LS Reid Ferguson (Swing)
  • LS Connor LeBlanc (Swing)
  • LS Logan Boudreaux (Swing)

Analysis: It’s expected that the Purple squad, on paper, is overmatched. Harris doesn’t exactly have a plethora of proven weapons around him at running back, where Melvin Jones is a converted linebacker. At receiver, there’s a duo that’s been nicked up in Peterson and Diarse to go with a converted quarterback in Bolden. Just looking at the offensive lines for both sides, there might be some mixing and matching, which would fit with new line coach Jeff Grimes’ declaration that every spot is up for grabs. Again, the effort to find a rotation at defensive tackle is reflected here. Bain, Herron and Gilmore are all trying to earn reps. At linebacker, it will be the first time we see Beckwith in his new home. At cornerback, Ed Paris, a highly-touted early enrollee, will put his talents on display, too.

 

LSU selling old lockers

You can own an old LSU football locker if you pony up nearly $4,000.

The school is renovating the Jeff Boss Locker Room in Tiger Stadium and is selling nearly 100 old lockers for an “as is” price of $3,950, part of a fundraising effort, the school said. For an additional $230 ($4,180 total), the locker will be refurbished to its original condition.

LSU is selling its old football lockers. (LSU athletics)

LSU is selling its old football lockers. (LSU athletics)

The lockers were added during a 1996 renovation of the locker room.

In addition to the locker itself, those fans purchasing this piece of memorabilia will receive a certificate of authenticity as well as a copy page for the original plans for the Jeff Boss Locker Room renovations. The dated document from 1996 includes construction drawings and final plans along with the exact location of each locker. Each locker was numbered prior to removal so that you will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the locker that you are purchasing.

The plans will also include the architect’s design elements of the locker along with a matching serial numbered authenticating label that will accompany the locker. This will certify that your locker is a collectible.

For more information about the lockers or to purchase a locker, please visithttp://www.tigerstadiumlockers.net/. Those interested in purchasing a locker but need more information, can submit questions to info@tigerstadiumlockers.net.

Meanwhile, a judge ended former LSU running back Jeremy Hill’s probation.

On The Record: Anthony Jennings

Anthony Jennings spoke to reporters for about 25 minutes Monday. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Anthony Jennings spoke to reporters for about 25 minutes Monday. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Anthony Jennings, for now LSU’s No. 1 quarterback, spoke with reporters after the Tigers’ second day of spring practice on Monday.

The rising sophomore discussed his performance in the Outback Bowl, his growing leadership capabilities and his relationship with players.

He touched on the competition between him, Brandon Harris and Hayden Rettig, and he discussed his maturing football IQ and stronger arm.

What do you need to prove this spring to win the starting job?

Jennings: I just do what I can do. Just become a better teammate, better team leader. Do the things I did to start the bowl game. Just come in and work hard.

How much are you embracing the opportunity to be the starting quarterback?

Jennings: It’s a blessing. Comes with hard work. All my teammates and people that have helped me. All the strength staff. It’s not all about me. It’s all about people around me.

It can’t be easy trying to fill the shoes of Zach Mettenberger, right?

Jennings: Nah. He’s a great quarterback. He’s going to be a great NFL quarterback. Great person. Coming from behind him, I have a lot to live up to.

What’s your relationship been like with Brandon Harris?

Jennings: I’m the only one that’s been in his shoes. Early enrollee, freshman, just like I was last year. He’s trying to compete for the job just like I was. Just trying to tell him things that I went through and just be ready for the moment when it comes.

How different will this year’s offense be compared to last season?

Jennings: We still have great backs, still have great receivers. I don’t think the offense will change that much. I know I have the ability to run but that’s not what I do first. I don’t think the offense is going to change that much. Coach Miles is still the head coach. Think we’re still going to run the ball.

After your Outback Bowl performance, do you feel as if you’ve got a chip on our shoulder?

Anthony Jennings struggled in the Outback Bowl. He said it wasn't his best game. (Bill Feig | The Advocate)

Anthony Jennings struggled in the Outback Bowl. He said it wasn’t his best game. (Bill Feig | The Advocate)

Jennings: I don’t think that game was one of my best games. If it was, I don’t think I’d be starting. I feel like every game, there are ways to improve, ways to get better.

What did you learn from that game and how many times did you watch the tape?

Jennings: I watched it so many times. I’ve learned that winning is the most important thing. Come out with a win, that’s all you’re really trying to (do is) go in and win the football game. Keep winning games like that, we’ll be national champions.

What were the problems you had in the Outback Bowl?

Jennings: I don’t know. Maybe freshman jitters. All I really know is, my teammates rallied around me and we got the win.

What is offensive coordinator Cam Cameron trying to teach you?

Jennings: Become a better leader. Keep the emotions inside and make those emotions make you play better. Teach me the game of football, how to be a quarterback leader. You have to lead your team. Become a smarter football player, football IQ. All of the little things, like technique and throwing the ball well and accuracy.

Do you think you can win the job this spring?

Jennings: That’s not for me to decide. I’m going to come out here and do my best every day and they make that decision.

Brandon Harris collided with you during some of the roll-out drills, right?

Jennings: I did the same thing to Zach (Mettenberger). I know how it is. You’re not going to be perfect right when you walk on campus. It’s all fine. It’s all fine. I’m ready to get him going and teach him everything that I know and I’m still learning too.

You feel more confident?

Jennings: I’m definitely more confident. I know all of the guys for a year now. I’m confident of every guy on my team that rallied around me to become a better leader, better quarterback. All of us in the quarterback room are getting better. You have better relationships on the team that makes you better.

What have you seen from Hayden Rettig and Brandon Harris so far?

Jennings: Hayden and Brandon look like great quarterbacks. They wouldn’t be here if they couldn’t play on this level. They’re going, just like I am, trying to progress every day. Brandon’s throwing the ball well, still has a lot of things to learn in the offense, but I was in that predicament last year. He’s throwing the ball well. He’s vocal. We’re all trying to get better as spring goes along.

What’s an example of something that happened in the first couple of days in spring that is representative of your growth from last season?

Jennings: Just speaking to my teammates. I didn’t really know anybody (last year). I had just got here. Just talking to them and getting to know them better … I can talk to them on a football level and on a personal level.

How much contact do you have with coach Cameron?

Jennings: Pretty much up here six days a week. So just trying to talk to him and get what he knows and trying to get that in my arsenal to play quarterback.

What’s been his main focus with you?

Jennings: Becoming smarter. Smarter in the game. Football IQ. Knowing what I have to do to get better. He’s been trying to teach me things.

Anthony Jennings says his arm has gotten stronger since the Outback Bowl. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Anthony Jennings says his arm has gotten stronger since the Outback Bowl. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

How much more confident are you this season?

Jennings: I’m a lot more confident. I’ve been in the system for a year. I feel confident in the plays we’re running and things we’re doing in the leadership role. I’m not saying I’m a leader like Kenny Hilliard or La’el Collins, but I’m rapidly increasing my IQ and just trying to get better.

You feel the team following you?

Jennings: Definitely. Like last year I was kind of like shaking, didn’t know what to call in the huddle. Now I’m confident and speaking up.

What’s your development in the passing game?

Jennings: I can extend plays with my legs. I’m not worried about that. Just becoming more accurate and doing the reads and (reading) the defense so I know where to go with the ball. I know that I can throw the ball with the best of them. It’s just a matter of showing it now.

Have you and Cameron discussed you not running as much?

Jennings: I didn’t really run that much in the bowl game. Just stand in the pocket, knowing where to sit, move, step up in the pocket. Those are going to come with time.

Has Cameron compared you to any NFL quarterback?

Jennings: Yeah, he’s coached Tyrod Taylor, Antwaan Randle El. Those kind of guys. He said those kind of guys kind of remind him of (me).

Do you fit those roles?

Jennings: I guess so. Tyrod Taylor can throw the ball with the best of them. He said Tyrod Taylor is a great quarterback. Antwaan Randle El is a great quarterback. I like those comparisons.

Was the Outback Bowl humbling after the success against Arkansas?

Jennings: Definitely. I always knew that if you win the game and you do well, the quarterback position, they’re going to praise you. If you don’t do well, they’re going to blame it on you. It’s just a matter of sticking in and don’t get to high and don’t get too low.

Has Mettenberger offered you advice?

Jennings: I’m still talking to him pretty much every week, seeing how things are going, doing those things. He just said, ‘It’s a grind. Becoming an LSU quarterback is one of the most prestigious positions in all of college football. You’ve got to do the right things even when no one’s looking.’

What do you need to do to win the starting quarterback job?

Jennings: Just do what I have been. Throw the ball well. All of the quarterbacks can do that. Separate myself (in) the film room and in the class room. Becoming a more student of the game.

You compare yourself a lot with Brandon Harris. How similar and dissimilar are you two?

Jennings: I think we’re two similar quarterbacks. He can run the ball just like I can. He can throw the ball with the best of them. What’s different right now, he doesn’t know as much as I do. That comes with time.

What did you do in the off-season?

Jennings: I just been doing a lot of drills, trying to hone in on my lower body strength to drive the ball more, become quicker in my thinking. Reading a lot of inspirational books of how to lead, a lot of autobiographies of who has led, who’s done it great. Trying to become a better leader first of all and become a better quarterback.

Have you gained arm strength?

Jennings: I think I’m driving the ball exponentially more than I did last year, in that last bowl game.

Mettenberger developed relationships with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Are you expecting to do the same with the new receivers?

Jennings: Jarvis and Odell had three quarterbacks. I think I can make that move with the receivers now and the receivers coming in with the freshman class.

What’s your relationship with the receivers now?

Jennings: It’s great. I talk to them every day. Try to get them up here, throwing extra, them and Cam. Trying to get better every day. That’s what we’re trying to do.

What was the reception after the Arkansas win and compare to the one you received after the Outback Bowl.

Jennings: Obviously, you win an SEC game in the last minute or so you’re going to get a lot of praise, but obviously it was still a win. Still a win in the bowl game, still a win in the Arkansas game. We wouldn’t have gotten to the Outback Bowl if we lost that Arkansas game. All of my teammates, they still believed in me. Nothing has changed. I don’t really give in to all of the outside talk. I don’t make any excuses nor do I take any from anybody else.

What have coaches told you guys about the quarterback competition?

Jennings: What they’ve said is, it’s a competition. You’ve got to come in and do your best. Right now, I’m taking the 1s. I’m just trying to keep that going and eventually become a starter, be named a starter.

It’s here: the Big Cat Drill

brightcove

LSU practiced for the first time in full pads Tuesday, the third practice of spring drills.

The highlight during the media’s 30-minute viewing window? The Big Cat Drill.

There’s video above. It includes coach Les Miles playfully calling former safety Craig Loston to join the drill, where an offensive and defensive player collide while the team watches. Loston, a senior last season, was on hand.

It also features new defensive back Ed Paris, an early enrollee, taking down receiver John Diarse and eliciting a celebration from teammates.

Here’s the pairings during the above video portion of the drill:

  • CB Tre’ Davious White vs. WR Travin Dural
  • CB Ed Paris vs. WR John Diarse
  • WR Quantavius Leslie vs. CB Kavahra Holmes

Other nuggets:

Les Miles directs the Big Cat Drill.

Les Miles directs the Big Cat Drill.

  • Evan Washington was running with the No. 1 group at right guard. Hoko Fanaika was running with the 1s there Monday. Miles said Washington, Fanaika and Ethan Pocic are options to replace Trai Turner.
  • WR Kevin Spears was not at practice. He tweaked a hamstring during Monday’s practice. Avery Peterson appeared to have injured a hamstring during drills Tuesday.

LSU announces 2014 Tiger Tour dates

LSU announced dates for the 2014 Tiger Tour on Tuesday.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday, April 28: Bossier City (Horseshoe Casino)
  • Tuesday, April 29: Monroe (Monroe Civic Center)
  • Thursday, May 1: Houma (Houma Civic Center)
  • Wednesday, May 7: Baton Rouge (Lod Cook Alumni Center)
  • Wednesday, May 14: Houston (J.W. Marriott Hotel)
  • Sunday, May 18: New Orleans (Hilton Riverside Hotel)
  • Monday, May 19: Alexandria (Alexandria Riverfront Center)
  • Tuesday, May 20: Lafayette (River Oaks Catering Center)

Speakers at each tour stop will be announced at a later date.