Football Team Wraps Up First Week of Practice

LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis instructs redshirt freshman linebacker Tahj Jones.
LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis instructs redshirt freshman linebacker Tahj Jones.
Steve Franz
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications

BATON ROUGE - LSU wrapped up its first week of spring practice on Saturday with a full pads workout that saw head coach Les Miles put the Tigers through an abbreviated scrimmage consisting of nearly 80 live snaps.

Saturday's practice was the fifth of 15 for the Tigers this spring. LSU will take Sunday and Monday off before starting week two of the spring workouts on Tuesday. LSU will practice three times next week - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday - with Saturday's session scheduled for a scrimmage in Tiger Stadium.

"Today was the first day of spring in reality," Miles said after the practice. "We were in pads and we scrimmaged. We went 40 minutes and had a lot of fun. Some young players really showed and some guys that were veterans looked like veterans. It was still a little too sloppy for my liking so we need to improve. We may go slower in football just to make sure we have it all right."

Another new wrinkle for the Tigers this spring has been the introduction of the "Big Cat" drill, which is a one-on-one full contact drill between and offensive player and a defensive player.

"We started this practice out with a "Big Cat" drill and that is something we will do every day in pads," Miles said. "It's a one-on-one man-on-man aggressive drill.

"(This drill) gives our players the competitive view of physical interaction. To me, it is basically to make us a dominant and physical football team. If they can step in that drill and do well then they can be a dominant physical football team."

The Tigers did the drill for the first time on Thursday - their first day in full pads. Miles said he's the "judge" of the drill and he determines who wins - the offense or the defense. Miles said that on Saturday, the Tigers did the drill eight times, with the offense winning three, the defense winning three and two ties.

"It was a great way to get the practice started," Miles said. "It is a physical presence. It's about body control and being able to dominate your opponent. It is not necessarily disengagement, which is also part of football. When you lock up, it is pad under pad and it is strength and brute force. I am the judge and it is the movement. If I take your body back, I won and if you take my body back you won."

All three quarterbacks - Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee and Chris Garrett - took snaps during the scrimmage, while Stevan Ridley and Michael Ford got the bulk of the carries from the running back position. Richard Murphy practiced but he did not participate in the scrimmage.

Miles said that the biggest offensive play came when Jefferson hit Chris Tolliver for a 70-yard scoring play. Defensive back Daniel Graff added an interception on a tipped ball to highlight the defensive play.

"There certainly were some opportunities at some big plays," Miles said. "There were some nice runs; probably more in this scrimmage than in the one we had a year ago. I thought it was a nice start to our endeavor on becoming a dominant and more physical than we have been."




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