Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spring Game Redux (aka I like to hear myself type)

I was in a bar and it being Baton Rouge, it was tuned to Cox Sports which was showing the LSU Spring Game. But not really, it was interspersed with tidbits on awards for the spring and player bios or some such. Like I said, this wasn't the library, it was a bar.

I attended the Spring Game. I never really enjoy them to be honest. While it is football, it's your team versus itself. Obviously, it hard to judge if what you just saw means your team is great at something or sucks at doing the opposite. Players are what stands out to me. So their performance is what I take away from it. Whilst watching, I was struck by a few impressions and noticed some facts:

Hatch definitely has the legs. He can flee the pocket a la enemy territory in Capture the Flag if the pocket collapses or he has to roll out. I definitely like hearing that as a result of his shoulder surgery, he has a deeper long ball. It's going to be both Lee and Hatch to start things out this fall, so it's nice to know that Hatch is more rounded. Since, I hear he has a solid grasp of the offense and throws a decent short route. But knowing he can heave it downfield is nice because of the next guy I bring up.

Demetrius Byrd. He just runs loose and glides under long passes. He’s definitely a deep threat. A friend of mine said this guy is a solid first rounder, I agree. He's sharp. More importantly, he's fast. That makes him just fun to watch. I'm sure Crowton will find a way to utilitize him.

Chad Jones, who I haven't shut up about since he signed with LSU, is not going to the NFL. The Department of Defense is going to offer him a ton of money to research his superhuman abilities of targeting, velocity and destructive impact upon arrival. Several times I watched the linebacker break down while assessing the play, hesitating. And there goes Jones, right past em, making another tackle. He is going to be all over the field. I think when it's all said and done, he's an All-American top 5 or so draft pick.

Richard Murphy really impressed me. It's his vision and ‘bounce’ combined. Several times he faced a hole that wasn’t there. He was uncanny in his ability to see and evaluate what the situation was and then bounce outside and find a lane. Once he did, zoom, gone.

What’s left to dream about? Charles Scott and Keiland Williams. The first half of the Kentucky game and the first half of the Virginia Tech game/hurdle comp leaves you wondering what more they have in store. Didn't see all that much of these kids in the game.

What's left to wake up in a cold sweat about? Our kicking. Yeesh.

The awards they give out after the Spring Practice might provide some insight. I don't put that much stock in them. It seems as though everybody gets something. But I do believe they can tell you something. I like that our only new O lineman (no starts, but plenty salty) Joe Barksdale got Most Improved. Nice to know he's getting better and not just a warm body. Herman Johnson was an Iron Man and Erik Andolsek Leadership awards winner. Center Brett Helms took home the Jimmy Taylor award for outstanding leadership, effort and performance. Between this and other stuff, it sounds like the O line has talent and character. I think they'll be the trusty bedrock of this offense and that will pay off huge this season. Darry Beckwith and Ricky Jean-Francois took home the Mike Miley Leadership awards for defense. These guys will for the backbone of the defense and I'm glad to see them stepping up.

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