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Hobbs Column: Much to do about nothing at LSU media day

Last Modified: Monday, August 12, 2013 10:27 AM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

BATON ROUGE — LSU held its annual media day at the sprawling football complex Sunday, and all I can say is that it might need to sprawl a little more if this trend keeps up.

The Tigers have been practicing for a week now from an unfamiliar spot just outside the doorstep of the Top 10, so for this year you didn’t have the ESPN traveling bus or hordes of national media barging in.

That limited the “media” to a cozy gathering of ... I don’t know how many ... but they sprawled out into the hallway of an auditorium that normally easily accommodates the entire LSU football team, including walk-ons.

I have no idea who most of them were or where they came from or, for that matter, what they were doing.

Apparently all you need these days to count yourself in the media is to get yourself an iPhone and a Twitter account. Most of them, frankly, would probably have been more at home at the LSU Fan Day that followed Sunday night over at the Maravich Assembly Center.

Otherwise, not much happened.

But there was buzz, plenty of it, floating around on what has come to be LSU’s official opening.

Among the more noteworthy buzz topics:

LSU’s offense may have been worse than you thought last year.

For this year, head coach Les Miles said, “There is an opportunity for us to call multiple plays from different ... a select group of plays from many, what would be a variant of personnel groups and implementations.”

Translation: If I was hearing some of LSU returning offensive players correctly, last year they had formations from which they ran only one play.

New offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is on the case to fix the offense.

Cameron has kind of been the great Oz behind the curtain since arriving at LSU in February. He’s really been a recluse and hasn’t talked with the media much until Sunday.

His general message seemed to be that getting a passing attack that the Tigers’ running game can be proud of is not rocket science and hardly brain surgery. He thinks LSU can have a truly balanced attack, throwing the ball more efficiently while not throwing the physical ground game out with the bath water.

Details still to come, he promised. He warned the changes might not be evident to the naked eye. But hints abound that, while stopping short of the pop-gun spread offenses, it will be far more up-tempo than in the past.

Jeremy Hill, though burned once by homemade video, did not flinch when iPhones were pointed at him Sunday.

Miles still hasn’t decided what Hill’s “further discipline” will be after allowing him to rejoin the team from a well publicized suspension last week.

I think Miles has decided, but he’s not ready to tell yet.

LSU is going to play a lot more true freshmen this season than you’re used to seeing.

Part of it was losing eight defensive starters to early entry in the NFL draft.

“We didn’t get caught off guard,” defensive coordinator John Chavis said. “We recruited well before this year and the years before that. But certainly when you lose that many guys there’s going to be some freshmen that have the opportunity.”

You know they’re serious when Miles will name freshmen names — normally he’ll beg off this early into camp with generic praise of the overall class.

But off the top of his head he rattled off Melvin Jones, linebackers Duke Riley and Kendall Beckwith, speedster Jeryl Brazil and cornerback Ricky Jefferson.

“He can really cover,” Miles said of Jefferson, the younger brother of former quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

Beckwith is a beast. Doesn’t look much like a freshman.

Later, word leaked out that true freshman center Ethan Pocic might be pushing junior Elliott Porter for the starting center spot. There will be many other freshmen see quality minutes.

The offensive line, reshuffled since the spring, already has a redshirt freshman, Jerald Hawkins, starting at right tackle. Hawkins’ encouraging development allowed LSU to move sophomore Vadal Alexander to the left guard next to tackle La’el Collins. That could be the plan if guard Josh Williford, who missed seven games last year with a concussion, is unable to play after suffering another one in the first week of practice.

Miles didn’t want talk about injuries, particularly Williford’s concussion.

And true freshman Anthony Jennings, who went through the spring, already has a secure grip on the backup quarterback spot (where he’s more of a dual threat than Zach Mettenberger). It sounds like they plan to use him whether he’s needed or not.

Jones, the former Washington-Marion linebacker/quarterback (and whatever else the Charging Indians needed him to do on offense), has already been moved from LSU linebacker to LSU fullback.

One of the reasons was his receiving skills, which suggests there really will be some major changes in the Cameron offense.

The place is verily swarming with talented young linebackers right now. Finding something productive for all of them to do might be Chavis’ biggest challenge on defense.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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