LSU practiced in pads for the first time Monday morning and several players said it was about time.
After four days of working in helmets and shorts, they were ready for something more closely resembling real football.
Coach Les Miles said last week that the coaches have to be very careful with the pace and physicality of practice when pads aren’t being used to reduce the chance of injury.
“The first couple of days in helmets are a little tedious,” linebacker Lamin Barrow said. “Everything’s a little slower. Those offensive linemen sometimes can put their hands on you and you can’t do what you want to do with them, so those first days in pads we’re just itching (to put on the pads).”
Fellow linebacker Kevin Minter felt the same way.
“To be honest, I feel like going with these helmets you get hurt more,” Minter said. “The helmets go into your shoulder and everything. We couldn’t wait for shoulder pads. It’s always like that.”
It wasn’t just defensive players that were looking forward to putting on pads.
“The defense kind of bullies us around a little bit,” wide receiver Jarvis Landry said. “Today we got a chance to fully suit up and bring the contact to them a little bit and I think that was the biggest part of our day today.”
Rasco being himself
Jermauria Rasco is fourth on the depth chart at defensive end but likely to play a lot more than he did as a true freshman last season when he played sparingly in nine games.
Rasco, who played at Evangel Christian, said he didn’t want to compare himself to junior starters Barkevious Mingo, who’s one of the fastest linemen in the country, and Sam Montgomery, who said he has added 30 pounds of muscle since the end of last season.
“I’m not as fast as Mingo and I’m not as strong as Sam,” said Rasco, who’s also behind senior Lavar Edwards. “I’m in between. I can’t be like either one. I just have to try to be me.”
Developing an identity
The linebacking corps is facing the biggest transition from last season of any unit on the defense. Minter, who started for the first time last season, has assumed the leadership role. Barrow and Tahj Jones are the likely first-time starters on the outside.
Mingo and Montgomery, who are top-notch NFL prospects, and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and safety Eric Reid, two of the most talented players on the team, have given their units an identity.
“We haven’t really made one yet,” Minter said of the linebackers. “I feel like our time will come. We’re just putting it together right now as a linebacking corps. It’ll show soon what we’ve got.”
Interviews to be streamed
LSUsports.net will stream a live broadcast from the team’s player interviews during Media Day on Tuesday at the Indoor Football Facility. The broadcast, which begins at 4:45 p.m., will be hosted by LSU Sports Radio Network sideline reporter Gordy Rush and Emily Villere.
“Live from LSU Media Day” will be offered free to fans at www.LSUsports.net/live. Rush and Villere will preview the season and have interviews with LSU players, assistant coaches, and other personalities until the end of the interview session at approximately 6 p.m.
LSUsports.net will also carry news conferences from Miles, offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa and defensive coordinator John Chavis beginning at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The news conferences will be offered to members of the GeauxZone on LSUsports.net. To join the GeauxZone, visit www.LSUsports.net/join.
Narrowing it down?
One of the most watched competitions during preseason camp is the one at halfback, where the same four players who shared the position last season — Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard — are against competing for playing time.
Miles was asked if he knew would emerge as the top back.
“I have a good idea,” Miles deadpanned. “It’s one of four guys.”