LSU coach Les Miles said Sunday that evaluating players at different positions would be a key component of preseason practice.
Miles was good to his word starting with Monday morning’s session, the first practice of preseason drills.
The Tigers worked out in typical helmets and shorts with no pads, but what wasn’t typical was the sight of four freshmen defensive players in purple coming over to work in passing drills.
Cornerbacks Ricky Jefferson and Jeryl Brazil and linebackers Kendell Beckwith and Melvin Jones all caught passes from LSU’s quarterbacks. Brazil then went over and worked with the running backs, even rolling out to throw a halfback pass, before heading back to work with the corners.
All four played offense in high school: Beckwith, Brazil and Jones at quarterback, Jefferson at wide receiver and running back.
Zach Mettenberger, Stephen Rivers and walk on Brad Kragthorpe (son of LSU administrative assistant Steve Kragthorpe) worked at quarterback in the morning session. The morning practice was mostly for veteran players while newcomers, such as freshman Anthony Jennings and Hayden Rettig, will practice Monday afternoon.
Jennings is expected to battle with Rivers for the job of being Mettenberger’s prime backup.
As was the case in spring practice there was a high tempo to LSU’s first session, particularly on offense.
“Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” running backs coach Frank Wilson told players. “Get a ball! Get a ball!”
Setting the tempo, and coaching by example, is first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Cameron was everywhere on the practice field, including rolling on the ground to demonstrate the proper technique in covering a loose ball to LSU running backs.
LSU has just three scholarship running backs at this point with sophomore Jeremy Hill suspended: senior Alfred Blue and juniors Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee.
Blue, who missed all but three games last season and was limited in spring practice with a knee injury, was full go in practice. Magee did not practice, expected to work out in the afternoon.
Hilliard, listed at 6-foot, 231 pounds, appeared thinner than he did last season or in spring practice.
Besides the quarterbacks, a couple of defensive players worked in green (non-contact) jerseys: defensive end Jermauria Rasco and cornerback Jalen Mills.