- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
To describe LSU's tandem of pass-rushing defensive ends as "small" or "slender" would be only half right this season.
Sam Montgomery told media members Thursday after the first day of August camp that he has gained 30 pounds in the off-season, pushing his weight over 270 pounds without sacrificing any of his speed.
"I think Sam is in position to have a great year," said LSU coach Les Miles of the junior, who was projected as the No. 5 player in the 2013 NFL draft by Mel Kiper. "I think he's more veteran, more seasoned, maybe more of a want this fall. He looks bigger and stronger to me."
That'll keep the Tigers from having to start two defensive ends who weigh less than 250 pounds. The other likely end, junior Barkevious Mingo, has actually lost weight since last season. He said he dipped from 242 pounds a season ago to 235 pounds upon reporting.
"I lost weight during the season last year and I'm still there," said Mingo, who is the No. 3 player on the Kiper draft board. "But I feel good."
Miles said he thought Mingo, unlike most players, will actually gain weight during camp.
"I think we'll take care of (Mingo)," Miles said. "He's doing well. He just has to re-gear his eating apparatus."
Mingo practiced Thursday in a non-contact jersey because an injury he suffered in the weight room. He said he hoped to be cleared for full participation soon for what he deems to be a minor injury to his left bicep.
He said the weight room injury did not hinder weight gain.
"It was while we were maxing," he said. "I tried to lift too much."
Split practice: During the camp's first three days, LSU will split the practices between a mostly veteran group in the mornings and a mostly younger group in the afternoon.
Some true freshmen, like offensive lineman Vadal Alexander, linebackers Lamar Louis, Ronnie Feist and Deion Jones, and cornerback Jalen Mills, got to work with the morning group. Most of the rest worked in the evening, which was also sprinkled with veterans who Miles said were there to show the younger players the ropes.
"The good thing is it gives us double the reps," Miles said.
One player who noticeably worked with the newcomers was Penn State transfer quarterback Rob Bolden, who started learning the LSU system with the younger players.
"I think finding cadence and finding how we do things is very difficult. I thought he did a good job," Miles said. "It's obvious he has some experience and kind of knows how to handle the huddle and what to expect. I thought he did a really good job."
One player not at either practice was Corey White, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Baton Rouge who did not return to the team this season.
Two-a-day QB: While the Tigers got to participate in one practice, one LSU player was notably a presence at both practices.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger went to the evening practice in street clothes and was in the ear of many of the Tigers' young receivers.
"He realizes he wants to bring everybody to bear, everybody's skills to play," Miles said of Mettenberger. "I like it. We are just getting started, it's just the first day."
Who will start at RB?: Asked who might start out of LSU's four-man running back competition, Miles said he had an idea.
"It's one of four guys," he joked.
Later, he raved about a fifth back, freshman Jeremy Hill, who impressed during the spring and continued to impress on Thursday with the young players in the afternoon.
"He kind of flashed to me again today," Miles said. "I liked the nice cut he made. He made a great ball-skills play, a great catch and run."