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Spring practice report: Day 7

3/13/2012

BATON ROUGE -- It might be spring, but it feels like summer has descended on the LSU football team.

LSU practiced for the seventh time this spring, and while it might be March, the Tigers worked in full pads in 85-degree heat.

Here are some notes from a sweltering day at the LSU practice facility.

LSU getting healthy: With the obvious exception of the Tiger quarterbacks, only running back Michael Ford wore a no-contact jersey to practice today. Defensive end Justin Maclin was back in his regular uniform, and was healthy enough to participate in the Big Cat Drill. Josh Dworaczyk was also going full-force with the offensive line.

Speaking of Big Cat: The Tigers went back to the full-contact drill on Tuesday, as usual. Les Miles called out Alfred Blue to face off with D.J. Welter, as well as Armand Williams and David Jenkins. Russell Shepard squared off with Ronald Martin, and the senior wide receiver went too low and got blown up. Two of the new faces, Ronnie Feist and Jeremy Hill, went at it and finished in a draw.

New drills on display: The LSU coaching staff has done a good job of mixing up its workouts during the media periods of practice. During all of the Tigers' practices so far, reporters have seen something new -- albeit it's mostly individual drills.

The running backs moved some more tackling dummies into their drill routine. Running backs coach Frank Wilson had his players shuffling through pads on the ground while moving sideways, before bursting upfield and spinning around a tackling dummy.

Defensive backs coach Corey Raymond actually had his players working on hitting tackling sleds, which is pretty unusual for the secondary. But there they were, moving from dummy to dummy, hitting each one on their way past.

The linebackers worked on a great variation of the Oklahoma drill. Rather than man-on-man, each linebacker worked against two lead blockers and a ball carrier. Feist handled himself particularly well, fighting off two fullbacks before making solid contact.

After working on deep routes a lot last week, the quarterbacks and wide receivers worked on routes that Steve Kragthorpe said would work against press coverage. The wideouts ran button hooks and slants at first, and then moved toward deep flag routes to the far sideline. After watching Jarrett Lee, Jordan Jefferson and Russell Shepard throw in recent springs, it's safe to say that Zach Mettenberger, Jerrard Randall and Stephen Rivers have the strongest arms since JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn left campus.

Kickers doing work: Kickers were working in the indoor facility on the hot afternoon. Brad Wing took shots at the roof with his punts, all of which nailed the roof. Drew Alleman nailed a 52-yard field goal, although it was indoors.

Miles and the O-Line: It makes sense that Les Miles would focus on the offensive line, since that's where he played during his career at Michigan. Miles spent the first half hour of practice barking at the offensive line.

The unit was working on blocking assignments against certain defensive fronts, as well as what types of splits are required in the Tigers' scheme. Miles worked extensively with La'El Collins and Chris Davenport on the left side of the line. Miles said the Tigers' left side has to account for the defense's three technique tackle, which was something the pair couldn't seem to get quite right.

The Tigers' first unit on the line was Chris Faulk, Collins, P.J. Lonergan, Josh Williford and Alex Hurst. Davenport and Dworaczyk worked with the second team, as did Elliott Porter.