Forced inside because of construction and resodding of two practice fields at the Charles McLendon Practice Facility, the LSU defense split into groups.
Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron crouched over a football, commanding his defensive linemen to get in their stances.
“Push off your front foot,” Orgeron yelled in his distinctive Larose Cajun twang. “Front foot.”
To his right, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele took the linebackers to the tackling sleds. He took Deion Jones aside, bending his knees to mimic just how he expected the 220-pound senior to attack the dummy in front of him.
Presenting the new-look Tigers defense.
Orgeron, Steele and wide receivers coach Tony Ball made their debuts Saturday morning in the first of LSU’s 15 spring practices, one Les Miles ranked among the most memorable he’s ever been a part of.
“A lot to be accomplished and a lot to do, but for the first one, a lot of enthusiasm,” Miles said after the two-hour go. “I really enjoyed today’s practice. Don’t know if I’ve been around a practice to start a spring that was as productive.”
Though Miles was coy on if his new defensive duo has settled on a base defense, he assured it wouldn’t be a foreign concept.
“We’ve talked about our base defense right away,” Miles said. “It’s something you guys will have seen here before. Kind of some of the things we did back when we were with Bo Pelini and really John Chavis for that matter. You’ll see there’s some carryover in both spots.’
The 20-minute viewing session included many individual drills with position coaches before the Tigers came together for some 11-on-11 snaps, where quarterback Anthony Jennings took the first snap and new faces on both lines were the talk of the day.
Orgeron’s youthful defensive line included two new ends, Deondre Clark and Tashawn Bower, who took reps with the first team alongside returning starters Christian LaCouture and Davon Godchaux at the tackle positions.
“Both guys had nice looks today,” Miles said of his new defensive ends. “(Maquedius) Bain jumped in there and looked pretty good. We feel like that end spot is going to be well manned. It should draw a double team a little bit more.”
While the defensive line saw new entrants on the end, the offensive line welcomed two redshirt freshmen on its interior. Redshirt freshmen Will Clapp and Garrett Brumfield took reps at the guard positions — Clapp at left guard and Brumfield at right.
Brumfield, a University High graduate, was alongside Vadal Alexander, who was positioned at right tackle. Jerald Hawkins slid over to occupy the left tackle spot, manned the last two seasons by La’el Collins.
Ethan Pocic was at center, though Miles said he’d rotate him around the line throughout the spring to better his awareness at center.
“Brumfield is getting ready to play; Will Clapp is in the same position, ready to play. If you put Vadal Alexander at a tackle and Pocic at center and Hawkins at left tackle, that’s a pretty good fivesome,” Miles said. “Looks pretty good to me.”
Jennings and Brandon Harris spent most of the viewing session under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s watchful eye, completing various throws in drills.
Miles said he’s met with Harris and Jennings and reaffirmed Saturday he will give the starting title to one player if he distances himself from the other.
“We talked about the need and the want to throw the football better,” Miles said. “We need not only the quarterbacks to come on but the receiving corps to come on. We’re going to devote a lot of time to it as far as snaps and percentages of practices. It’ll be fun.”