“Juice” brings energy to Tigers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5Ul6myzNxU
August 30, 2010 - © 2010 Tiger Rag
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Shepard working to improve pass catching ability
By RICHARD FISCHER
Tiger Rag Assistant Editor
The LSU receiving corps has been sipping on some “Juice” during fall camp thanks to the presence of sophomore wide receiver Russell Shepard.
“Russell’s going to be good. Russell’s a competitive guy. He’s so animated,” said junior cornerback Patrick Peterson. “My new nickname for Russell is now ‘Juice,’ because he has so much energy.”
Shepard and Peterson have been sharing a friendly rivalry during spring and fall practices where both players keep track of how many passes the underclassman catches on the All-American when the two battle in one-on-one drills - a competition both men say they are winning.
“I don’t know what Russell’s writing down in his notepad, but it’s a great battle, and that’s what we need, to get each other better, to push each other’s buttons, just going out there and being competitive,” said Peterson.
But regardless of who wins competition, the main goal remains for each player to push each other so that LSU wins on the football field.
“I ask him to give me everything he’s got, and he asks me to do the same with him,” said Shepard. “Pat has really helped me take my game to another level, and I hope and pray that I’m taking his play to another level.”
Apart from working with Peterson, Shepard has made it a personal priority during the offseason to work on improving his pass catching ability.
“I’ve never worked this hard for anything I wanted in my whole life,” said the Houston native. “This summer, the last day of the spring to this point, I catch anywhere from 75 to 150 balls a day, so that’s something that I definitely worked on and something I definitely improved on.”
After converting from quarterback to wide receiver, Shepard has also been working diligently with wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales to fine tune his craft.
“Coach Gonzales is a detailed coach. He expects a lot out of his players, and he sets the bar high for us,” said Shepard. “Coach Gonzales has coached so many great players, so you look at him and know he knows what he’s doing.”
Even though Shepard has made the transition away from signal caller, he said he expects to line up as a wildcat quarterback anywhere between five and 10 plays against North Carolina.
But wherever “Juice” lines up against the Tar Heels, he said he has no personal expectations other than just helping the team win.
“We have a lot of talent, a lot of young players in very big roles on this team,” said Shepard. “The young players have to step up to give the Drake Nevises and the Kelvin Sheppards the senior season that they deserve.”
Written by tigerrag · Filed Under Football, Home Page, Richard Fischer