Back to work for LSU

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Travis Spradling /
LSU center Ben Domingue (61) is congratulated by LSU offensive guard Will Blackwell (60) in the second half of the game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 between LSU and UL-Monroe in Baton Rouge. Blackwell sat out of Wednesday's practices.

After taking a day off from practice for Tuesday’s annual media day, the LSU football team returned to the practice fields Wednesday for the first pair of two-a-day practices as a full team.

The Tigers worked out outdoors Wednesday morning and went to their indoor practice facility for the second session to escape the afternoon heat.

Two freshman receivers - true freshman Jarvis Landry and redshirt Armand Williams - practiced in the morning session but were not observed working out in the afternoon.

It was Landry’s first practice of the fall after breaking his foot on the last play of the last day of summer 7-on-7 drills. Williams has been hampered by a hamstring injury.

Both players worked on route running under the supervision of members of LSU’s medical staff.

Sophomore defensive end Sam Montgomery was briefly checked out under a tent during the morning practice by LSU trainers for what appeared to be a heat-related issue. Montgomery soon returned to practice, however.

Also missing from both practices was offensive guard Will Blackwell. LSU coaches and players were not available for comment Wednesday.

During the afternoon practice, the LSU quarterbacks and receivers worked together on fly and post patterns. Junior receiver Russell Shepard made a nice spinning grab, and sophomore James Wright made a nifty one-handed grab over the middle.

Part of the drill involved the receivers trying to hold onto the ball while receivers coach Billy Gonzales either slapped them with a blocking pad or tossed it at them. The receivers held onto the ball with varying degrees of success.

The Tigers will practice again Thursday morning and twice Friday in preparation for their first major August scrimmage Saturday morning in Tiger Stadium.

The scrimmage precedes LSU Football Fan Day, 4-6 p.m. Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and the Carl Maddox Field House.

Family affair

The Kinchen family has been well represented on LSU rosters over the years.

Gus Kinchen was an end on LSU’s 1958 national championship team. Son Brian Kinchen was an All-Southeastern Conference tight end for LSU from 1984-87. His brother Todd Kinchen was an All-SEC receiver and kick returner for the Tigers from 1989-91.

For the second straight season two of Brian’s sons, Hunter and Austin Kinchen, are members of LSU’s squad.

Austin is a fourth-year junior deep snapper from Parkview Baptist. Hunter is a redshirt freshman deep snapper from The Dunham School.

Both are walk-ons, but both are relishing the opportunity to carry on the family tradition in the purple and gold.

“It’s an honor to wear the uniform,” Hunter Kinchen said. “It’s a longstanding legacy in my family. Everyone played here. We never had any thoughts of playing anywhere else.”

Austin said he saw action on several special teams units in LSU’s spring game and hopes his dedication can translate into some playing time.

“Hopefully I can continue to prove myself on the practice field and have a chance in the fall,” he said.

Rivers up, Hilliard down

Freshman quarterback Stephen Rivers is listed in LSU’s media guide at a wispy 6-foot-7, 200 pounds.

Fortunately, the Athens, Ala., native is in the right place to put on the pounds.

“I came here at 208,” Rivers said. “(Tuesday) I weighed 220. I’m going to try to get to 240 probably.

“I’m not going to worry about what I’m eating, for sure. It’s been real easy to gain (weight) since I’ve been here. I expect more to come.”

Rivers, younger brother of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, swears he is a fan of food. He’s partial to a place called Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Ala., famous in parts of the South for its white barbeque sauce.

Freshman running back Kenny Hilliard said he’s working on whittling down his current 240-pound weight through LSU’s steamy practices.

“I really don’t want to be at 240,” said Hilliard, who is 5-11. “I’m really trying to get back down to 227, where I was. That’s my playing weight.”

Rare matchup

According to LSU, the Tigers’ Sept. 3 season opener against Oregon in Arlington, Texas, will make just the third time that two top-five teams will start the season against each other on a neutral field.

Oregon is ranked No. 3 in the USA Today coaches’ preseason poll, while LSU is ranked No. 4.

The Advocate’s Les East and Joseph Schiefelbein contributed to this report.