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blacksaint 08-17-2007 02:08 AM

Alem looking for starting spot
 
Defensive lineman vies with two others

Thursday, August 16, 2007
By Kyle Whitfield


BATON ROUGE -- LSU defensive end Rahim Alem is feeling lucky these days.

He is getting a chance to prove himself as a potential starter on the defensive line, and he also said he's fortunate to play alongside emerging stars such as Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson.

"It makes you feel like, 'I belong with them,' " Alem said.

Alem is competing with Jackson and defensive end Kirston Pittman for a starting position.

"For the most part, (the coaches) rotate us a like a triangle between me, Kirston and Tyson," Alem said. "We never know who's going to start the day off at practice. To be honest with you, because I play both sides, I might wind up taking just as many or more reps than everybody else.

"Really, in the SEC, especially at LSU, eight guys get equal amount of snaps because we're rotating so much. We played Auburn, we played nine guys. The biggest amount of difference between the reps was like five reps."

Alem, a sophomore, said he's working on a few tactics to improve his stance on the team. Last season, he played in six games (no starts) and made two tackles, 1 1/2 for loss.

"A few things I've got to work on are pass rushing from the left side (and) learning plays," he said.

WATCHING JONES: The likelihood of LSU safety Chad Jones signing with the Houston Astros is "slim and none," Jones' father, Al, said Wednesday night.

"Chances are he's going to go to LSU," Al Jones said.

Chad Jones was drafted in the 13th round and had an 11 p.m. deadline Wednesday to reach an agreement with the organization.

Alem, who is Jones' older brother, said he wasn't even aware of Wednesday's deadline.

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"Once they drafted him in the 13th round, I think that kind of took an interest away, and he just focused on football," Alem said. "He'll be here tomorrow."

By LSU's rules, Jones is not allowed to speak with the media, except on media day, because he's a freshman. But his father indicated that the contract negotiations could have been better.

"On a positive note, without saying anything negative, yes, I think the Astros could have done a better job of communication," Al Jones said.

Though Chad Jones won't likely be playing baseball in the meantime, Al Jones said the positives of playing at LSU outweigh everything else.

"(With those) 93,000 crazy, screaming fans -- he won't even look at baseball," Al Jones said. "The big thing is he gets an opportunity to play with his brother. That's priceless."

PRACTICE REPORT: Tight end Richard Dickson, offensive lineman Andrew Decker and tight end Jordan Corbin missed both practices Wednesday.

Dickson was also held out of Tuesday's scrimmage.

Defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois missed the morning practice but returned for the afternoon session.

Missing the afternoon workout were offensive lineman Will Arnold, offensive tackle Carnell Stewart, wide receiver Early Doucet, defensive end Tyson Jackson, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and defensive lineman Drake Nevis.

MORE HONORS: Sports Illustrated ranked LSU No. 2 behind USC. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and offensive lineman Will Arnold were also selected to SI's preseason All-America team.

Dorsey, Arnold and linebacker Ali Highsmith were also chosen to ESPN.com's All-America team, the Web site announced Wednesday.

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