LSU-Texas A&M

LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron bring the Tigers onto the field for Saturday's game against Florida.

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

The days of LSU football opening training-camp practices to reporters appear to be over.

All of the Tigers’ camp practices — even walkthroughs — are closed to media this year, according to a schedule released by the school Friday. The complete closure could be a first for the school, and LSU appears to be the only program in the Southeastern Conference to have done so.

All other schools plan or have allowed reporters into practice for at least one day of drills, according to camp schedules compiled by The Advocate. News of the camp closure comes 10 months after coach Ed Orgeron opened in-season practice as interim coach, the first in-season practice access for reporters at LSU in more than 10 years.

Players report to camp Sunday, and drills begin Monday, starting with the NCAA’s mandatory four-day acclimation period. Players cannot wear full gear until the fifth day of practice.

For the next four weeks, LSU is set to practice six days a week, with one NCAA-mandated off day each week. Most camp days are structured with a walkthrough in the morning and a two-plus-hour practice starting usually around 3:30 p.m. Players and Orgeron are scheduled to speak with reporters twice a week most weeks.

Scrimmages are scheduled for three Saturdays (Aug. 12, 19 and 26) in Tiger Stadium. Those are closed to reporters as well.

LSU shutting down camp to media is nothing new in college football. Coaches continue to push out reporters to gain, they believe, an edge on competition, keeping injury information, practice participation and scheme changes a secret.

The Tigers are likely to undergo sweeping changes this year, and camp is when they all get ironed out. First-year coordinator Matt Canada is continuing to install his offense, and LSU’s special teams are getting a facelift from new analyst Greg McMahon. The defense could see a host of new faces, too; a half-dozen freshmen could challenge for playing time on a unit that lost seven starters.

The school said it will provide video and photographs of practice to media and fans each day. 

The closing of camp is a change from years past. Under former coach Les Miles, a portion of camp practices — normally individual drills — were open to reporters, but that began to slow over the past few years. Media viewed less than a week of camp in 2015 and 2016 before Miles closed it completely. 

Access to practice is at the discretion of each SEC school. Many close drills completely during the season, though some allow small viewing windows one day a week. Spring practice is when coaches normally give the most access. 

As for training camp, LSU is the only league school that will not have at least one practice partially open to reporters. Some SEC schools have as many as 15 practices partially open. The length of open sessions range from brief (less than an hour or sometimes as little as 10 minutes) to half of a two-hour practice.

Kentucky and Vanderbilt are the only schools expected to allow media to watch a full practice. Their camp schedules have not been released, but significant changes are not expected. The Wildcats opened just one practice in last year's camp, but media was allowed to watch the entire practice.

Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas and Texas A&M open most, if not all, of their camp practices to reporters for a brief period of time. Aside from LSU, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Auburn have the more restricted camps, when it comes to the number of practices partially open to reporters.

Some schools have strict policies on what the media can report during these open periods. For instance, Tennessee allows access for 15 to 20 minutes of about half of its camp practices, but media cannot report on injuries, absent players or which players are participating on which team (first, second, third, etc.).

 

LSU training camp Week 1 schedule

  • Sunday: Team reports
  • Monday: 4 p.m. practice (Orgeron news conference at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Tuesday: 4 p.m. practice (Player interviews at 1:15 p.m.)
  • Wednesday: 4 p.m. practice (Player interviews at 1:15 p.m.)
  • Thursday: 4 p.m. practice
  • Friday: 4 p.m. practice (Orgeron news conference at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Aug. 5: Practice (time TBD)
  • Aug. 6: No practice
  • Aug. 7: 4 p.m. practice (Orgeron news conference at 6:30 p.m.)

SEC training camp access

Access to practice is at the discretion of each SEC school. Aside from LSU, at least one camp practice (and as many as 12) is open at each school. Length of open sessions range from brief periods (less than an hour and sometimes as little as 10 minutes) to half of a two-hour practice.

 School

 Media access

 How many practices are open?

 Length of open sessions?

 Regular public access?*

 LSU

 No

 N/A

 N/A

 No

 Alabama

 Yes

 Most

 Brief

 No

 Missouri

 Yes

 About half

 About half

 No 

 Georgia

 Yes

 Most

 Brief

 No

 Mississippi State

 Yes

 Limited amount

 Brief

 No

 Florida

 Yes

 Most

 Brief

 No

 Vanderbilt^

 Yes

 Some

 All

 Yes

 Arkansas

 Yes

 Most

 Brief

 No

 Auburn^

 Yes

 Limited amount

 Brief

 No

 Ole Miss

 Yes

 Some

 Brief

 No

 Kentucky^

 Yes

 Limited amount

 All

 No

 Texas A&M

 Yes

 Most

 Brief

 No

 Tennessee

 Yes

 Some

 Brief

 No

 South Carolina

 Yes

 About half

 Brief

 No

* — Most SEC teams open one camp practice to fans as “fan day.”
^ — Auburn, Kentucky and Vanderbilt have not released their camp schedules. The Advocate used their access in previous camps for this list.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.