POSTED: Friday, August 5, 2011 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, August 7, 2011 - 10:11pm
HAMMOND, La — The Southeastern Louisiana University football team practiced in shells for the first time on Saturday morning, working out for just over two hours in Strawberry Stadium before head coach Mike Lucas and selected players and members of the coaching staff participated in the Lions’ annual Media Day.
The Lions continued installing its offensive and defensive schemes in the workout that included several periods of “thud” drills that included contact, but no tackling.
“For the first day in shoulder pads and the third day of camp, we had an outstanding workout,” Lucas said. “Some of the things that we were doing offensively, for just being the third day, were amazing.”
Lucas held his inaugural press conference of the season in the Victory Club that included seniors Josh Penton, Simmie Yarborough and Devin Boutwell, juniors Brian Young, Zeke Jones, Devan Walker and Robert Alford, plus Iowa State transfer Jerrod Black and freshman Dean Johnson.
The fifth-year coach announced that redshirt freshman Jeremy Meyers, a former Baton Rouge-St. Michael High product, was moved to strong safety from quarterback after Friday’s practice. Meyers
“For us to leave him standing on the sideline as the third-string or fourth-string quarterback is just a waste of talent,” Lucas said. “We’ve got to get him on the field. He spent two hours yesterday with (defensive coordinator) Matt Webb getting caught up in coverages and was out there today and did a great job.”
Looking to replace former left tackle Kevin Hughes, who is currently with the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, sophomore Gasten Gabriel is the heir apparent to fill the shoes of the three-time All-Southland Conference pick.
The 6-foot-5 Gabriel, a former West Feliciana High product who saw action last season after redshirting in 2009, entered camp at 300 pounds and is entrenched in the starting spot.
“Everybody always wants to talk about the left tackle spot,” Lucas said, “but Gasten Gabriel in year three (in the program) compared to Kevin Hughes in year three … Gasten is far more advanced. He has great feet, great length and is starting to come into his own and starting to mature.”
Southeastern, which opens the season Sept. 3 against Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome, returns to practice on Sunday with a 6 a.m. workout in shells. The Lions will don full pads for the first time on Monday and will open two-a-days beginning Tuesday.