LSU kicked off what promises to be a grueling month Thursday with a 9 a.m. practice -- the first official practice of the 2012 season.
As will be the case for the first three practices of August, Thursday morning was a varsity practice, so there was no sign of any incoming freshmen or transfers. Thus, much to the dismay of media everywhere, Penn State transfer Rob Bolden was not on hand.
Instead, reporters caught 25 minutes of initial veteran workouts, with a few notes worth mentioning.
Absentees: It's hard to say for sure who's missing when there's a split-squad practice like Thursday's. A good portion of the Tigers' roster was missing this morning, but common sense dictates that those players will be working when the freshmen convene at 4:15 p.m. The procedure doesn't seem to have a lot of consistency to it. For instance, true freshman linebacker and early enrollee Ronnie Feist was working out with the linebackers this morning, while a fellow freshman and early enrollee, running back Jeremy Hill, was not on hand.
The afternoon session should shed some light on that.
Injuries: Of the guys who did make it out, everyone was going full speed with the exception of junior defensive end Barkevious Mingo. Mingo dressed out in an infamous green no-contact jersey -- something Les Miles will surely be asked to address at tonight's news conference.
Quick outs: It's funny to think that junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger was easily the dominant story line of this LSU team just four days ago. The focus will return to Mettenberger in short order, but the buzz around Bolden's transfer into Baton Rouge is undeniable for the time being.
Meanwhile, Mettenberger went to work Thursday with his receiving corps. The Tigers' trigger man launched plenty of the long bombs fans are hoping to see this season. But perhaps the most interesting passing drill saw the running backs and receivers line up and run a sort of gauntlet, in which they'd run from Mettenberger to backup Stephen Rivers to quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe, catching three separate bullets in short order.
It was funny to see Kragthorpe throwing passes to his players in lieu of a third-string quarterback, as both Bolden and freshman Jerrard Randall were absent. Kragthorpe might be long gone from the playing field, but the former quarterback still throws with some zip.