BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After three days of split squad practices, LSU came together as a full team on Sunday as the Tigers held their first full squad workout here at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
Sunday's workout capped the first week of preseason training for the top-ranked Tigers as LSU continues to prepare for the season-opener against North Texas on Sept. 1 in Tiger Stadium.
In addition to it being the first full squad workout, LSU also put on the shoulder pads for the first time. The first three days of practice had the Tigers working out in shorts and helmets. LSU will workout in full pads on Monday.
"Today was the first time that we all practice together and I thought it went well," head coach Les Miles said following the workout. "I liked the speed of practice. The tempo was much better. That's the type of practice that I'm used to. We have yet to be in full pads; we put them on tomorrow for the first time, which will be the end of our five-day acclimatization period."
Among the highlights of Sunday's practice was the return of the Big Cat Drill – a drill that features an offensive player lining up against a defensive player in a 1-on-1 battle - which has become a favorite of the players and the media.
"We are a physical football team and our guys understand that's how we play," Miles said of the purpose of incorporating the Big Cat Drill into practice. "It's fundamental to us. It's what we're going to do. There is natural animosity when big men decide they are going to whack each other. It was fun. I enjoyed it."
With the first day of full squad practice also came the opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate the incoming freshmen with that of the veterans. Miles has been impressed thus far with what he's seen from some of the rookies.
"I like the freshmen class," Miles said. "I think there is some speed. There are some bright eyes. I think the secondary is going to really help us and I think those linebackers will step in and play. On the offensive side I think both (Travin) Dural and (Kavahra) Holmes are going to be good receivers for us. I think Danielle Hunter could potentially be a very exciting player. I like us. I think our football team will add those guys to our team, and add their skill set to us. I think we will be better."
The Tigers will practice one time on Monday before taking their first break of fall camp with a day off from the practice field on Tuesday. LSU will conduct its first two-a-day session on Wednesday with the first scrimmage of camp scheduled for Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
LSU Camp Notes
Following practice, Miles announced that two signees – wide receiver Avery Johnson and offensive lineman Fehoko Fanaika – would not be joining the team this fall, but would have to wait and join the team in January. "Both will be delayed in their reporting date based on qualification issues. We expect them to be here in January without any loss of eligibility. That's not optimal but it's certainly not bad news."
Miles said that wide receiver Jeffrey Lang (No. 89) and defensive back Vincent LeDuff (No. 33) have replaced Johnson and Fanaika on the 105-man camp roster.
LSU will host Football Media Day on Tuesday, Aug. 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Football Operations Building.
LSU will host the annual Fan Day on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 3 to 6 p.m. on campus at the Maravich Assembly Center and the Maddox Field House.
ESPN was on campus Sunday filming a segment for the network's Inside the Program, which will air on SportsCenter throughout the day on Monday.