CAMP REPORT: Tigers’ many tight ends enjoy slower practice pace

Travis Dickson never had so much downtime at practice.

LSU’s senior tight end has the luxury of relaxing every so often during drills. That’s just how deep his position group is.

“It’s making camp a lot more enjoyable,” a smiling Dickson said.

Said starter Dillon Gordon: “We can have a rotation, keep our legs fresh, not have so many plays.”

The Tigers have 10 tight ends listed on their roster, and half-dozen are viable options for playing time, including Gordon, DeSean Smith, Dickson and Logan Stokes.

The gang could play a bigger role this season than it has in the past. But isn’t that said every year about the tight ends?

They mean it this season.

Three LSU tight ends, all returning, caught 12 passes last year. That’s more returning receptions than another position group: receiver.

LSU is low on experience there. Seven of the nine receivers on the preseason depth chart have never played a college snap. The other two — Quantavius Leslie and Travin Dural — caught a combined eight passes in 2013.

“Hopefully we get the ball more,” Dickson said, “but we’ve always had a hidden role in this offense, and we’re happy with it.”

In other words, blocking still may be the main focus. During reporters’ viewing windows of fall camp, tight ends are seen mostly working on blocking.

That’s not so bad.

“Whatever the role is, we’ve always had a pretty big role in this offense,” Dickson said. “Tight ends, running backs and offensive line are the big veterans on offense. We’re expecting these groups are going to play a real big part in our offense.”

Close to perfect

Colby Delahoussaye made 13 of 14 field-goal attempts last season.

How do you top that?

“Probably working on getting better,” the sophomore kicker said earlier this week. “Not looking at any stats or goals or statistics.”

Delahoussaye burst onto the scene as a walk-on freshman last season and claimed the starting job, made nine straight field goals, hit 93 percent of his tries overall and earned a scholarship. He also made 56 of 57 extra points.

He’s expected to have a new duty this year: kicking off. James Hairston transferred from LSU to Rice over the summer for an opportunity to kick field goals.

Delahoussaye is listed as the kickoff specialist on the team’s preseason depth chart. He has been working on kickoffs at practice and booting them into the end zone, he said. Reporters have not been allowed to view the special teams portion of practice.

“Only thing different (with kickoffs) is you get more steps back, and the follow-through — you’re having more of a crunch, and you’re landing on your kicking foot instead of your plant foot,” Delahoussaye said. “It’s all the same motion. Just kick off; you get to put a little more pop into it. Field goals, you don’t want to kill the ball every time. You just want to be accurate.”

Delahoussaye is fully recovered from a nagging groin injury last season. The strength in his kicking leg is back to 100 percent, he said.

Another freshman receiver

Receiver Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn are the headliners at receiver among LSU’s No. 2-ranked signing class.

Don’t forget about Tony Upchruch. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Texan is making his mark early in camp, said cornerback Tre’Davious White.

“He’s a big-body guy,” White said. “He’s a guy who uses his body well. He can use his body well and sheer you away from the ball.”

Lagniappe

LSU is holding its annual fan day Sunday starting at 5 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and the Maddox Field House. … LSU conducted its first day of two-a-days on Saturday. The practices were completely closed to reporters. Media members were allowed to see a 10-to-20-minute portion of practice the first five days of camp. … Donaldsonville receiver Tre Sullivan, a former walk-on, has earned a scholarship this season, a team spokesman confirmed.

Ross Dellenger