LSU breaks out ‘Big Cat’ drill; will wear full pads for first time Friday

After four days of practice in shorts, shells and helmets, the intensity is sure to pick up Friday morning when the entire LSU football team gets together for the first time in preseason camp.

Since practice began Monday, the Tigers have worked in two groups. Returning players and a few newcomers went in the morning session, while the afternoon workout featured the rest of the freshmen and selected veterans.

LSU coach Les Miles will have his 103-man roster on the field in full pads Friday for a single workout at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility before holding two practices Saturday.

“The tempo of the practice is going to change,” Miles said Thursday. “This practice, these (four) practices, were teaching in nature. There was not an emphasis on the physicality.

“When we get to pads, there will be a little more emphasis on the physicality,” he said, “and there won’t be as many reps.”

‘Big Cat’ returns

For the first time since spring practice ended, reporters got a glimpse of the “Big Cat” drill in which an offensive and defensive player go one-on-one after Miles blows his whistle while teammates stand all around them in a circle.

While several of the matchups ended in a draw, 275-pound defensive tackle Frank Herron got the best of 330-pound guard Hoko Fanaika — drawing loud cheers from Herron’s purple-shirted defensive mates.

Another impressive win for the defense came when two jewels of the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class this winter — wide receiver Malachi Dupre and safety Jamal Adams — squared off.

Adams got the jump off the whistle and quickly drove back Dupre, who’s known more for his pass-catching skills, several yards.

Defense is ahead

Miles praised his defense for a solid practice Thursday morning, noting it was competitive — even though some of the most important work was saved for the heat of the day near the end of the session.

“Our defense is ahead,” he said. “They’re ready for the situation, and ready for the heat and a good offense. Offensively, I think we played hard and tough, but I don’t know if we quite got it done today.

“But that happens; it certainly happens against a good defense. We’ll have enough on defense, I guarantee it. It’s like this: When the defense does good, then that offense will have to answer. So that’s the challenge at this point.”

Installation ongoing

Perhaps part of the reason the defense is winning at this stage of camp, Miles suggested, is the offensive installation is still ongoing.

“We’re probably an hour and a half in on our offense, to be honest with you,” Miles said. “That’s just the way it is. It’ll take some time. We’ll probably be done with installation somewhere early next week.

“Those young guys that have maybe heard this the second time in their life. Their eyes are big. But they’re going to get it.”

Wide receiver commits

Texas receiver Dee Anderson, of the 2016 class, has committed to LSU, according to his Twitter account.

Anderson, a 6-foot-4, 177-pounder from West Mesquite, Texas, is the No. 26 receiver in the 2016 class, according to 24/7 Sports’ composite rankings. He is a four-star-rated player.

Anderson’s other major college offers came from Tennessee, UCLA and Washington. He becomes the third commitment of the 2016 class. He joins Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks and Donaldsonville receiver Stephen Sullivan.

Quotable

“I kind of wanted to see some of the young guys. … It was, ‘Get ready; here we go.’ ” — Miles, on whether the return of the ‘Big Cat’ drill was to warm the players up for some physical work Friday in full pads.

Sheldon Mickles and Ross Dellenger

A closer look

1.Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron continues to implement more run-pass options for freshman quarterback Brandon Harris, an expected change in LSU’s offense from the last two seasons. Harris was seen running various read-option plays, including an eye-brow raising play you can read about below.

2.On one play, Harris kept the ball, ran about five yards up field, turned toward the sideline and then threw a 15-yard lateral to receiver John Diarse. Harris and Jake Clise were the quarterbacks during Thursday morning’s drills. “Watch, Harris!” Cameron yelled at times at the rookie while Clise practiced the drill.

3.LSU closed Thursday afternoon’s practice to reporters. Media members are normally given 10-20 minutes to view practice, but coach Les Miles shut the doors to drills. Included among the players who were expected to practice in the afternoon were QB Anthony Jennings and RB Leonard Fournette. It’s unclear if this affects remaining practices.