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Glenn Guilbeau / Gannett Louisiana

BATON ROUGE It depends upon your definitions of cocky and confident as to what the best description of LSU true freshman Jamal Adams is. Clearly, he is somewhere in between the two terms.

And he has every right to be as he is likely to start or play a lot at strong safety this season even though the position has senior Ronald Martin, who started seven games last season and has played in 24 games in his career, amid other veterans.

'He's prepared to play. He's mature beyond his age both physically and mentally,' LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis said of Adams.

'No, I haven't really surprised myself. I thought I would be competing for a starting job,' said Adams, a 2014 signee who was the No. 3 safety in the nation out of Hebron High and Lewisville. 'I came here with a lot of things that I wanted to do a lot of plays that I wanted to make.'

Adams is not the first LSU defensive back fresh to the campus speaking confidently or with cockiness. Patrick Peterson did it in 2008, and Tyrann Mathieu did it in 2010.

'Who hasn't heard of those guys? They're great players,' Adams said. 'I'm coming in with an attitude, an ambitious attitude that I want to take the field.'

Adams has worked at free safety as well, and those two positions are basically interchangeable, Chavis said. He has also practiced as the fifth (nickel) and sixth (dime) defensive back positions in passing situations.

'I've been working it all,' Adams said. 'I'm just learning the technology and the scheme, but I'm picking it up pretty fast. I'm ready to get out there.'

The safety position is suddenly crowded with the addition of Adams as well as true freshman John Battle of Hallendale, Fla. The most experienced are junior Jalen Mills, who is the No. 1 free safety after moving from cornerback in the spring, junior Corey Thompson, who started five games last season but is coming back from a knee injury, and Martin.

Secondary coach Corey Raymond also has sophomore Dwayne Thomas, who played in 11 games last season mainly in the nickel and dime slots, and sophomore Rickey Jefferson, who played in seven games in 2013.

'To me there are some guys who are pretty talented who will fit in very comfortably,' LSU coach Les Miles said. 'Those guys that have experience back there now have the enjoyment to improve their play.'

Enjoyment? Possibly not with Adams on their heels and threatening to take a starting spot.

'It would be huge if I was to start,' Adams said, turning confidence to humility. 'But I'm going to do whatever they ask me to do. Coach Chavis and coach Raymond know what they're doing. So the best 11 are going to play, and I'm just going to keep getting better and better each and every day.'

NFL EASIER THAN COLLEGE?: As far as Miles is concerned, it is often easier for a college football player to adapt to playing in the NFL as a rookie than it is for a high school football player to adapt to playing right away in college.

'They're almost the same,' Miles said. 'The one difference is that the players in college have to go to school. In a lot of ways it's easier to play in the NFL as a young player than in college. I marvel that our guys are able to play at such a high level their first two years given the jump in academics. The play changes in the NFL, but you don't have school. You prepare the whole day on football. In a lot of ways, it's harder to play as a young player here than in the NFL.'

Classes at LSU start on Aug. 25.

SCRIMMAGE SATURDAY: LSU will hold its first major scrimmage at 10:45 a.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium. After taking Sunday off, LSU will practice at 8:45 a.m. Monday and will hold a walk through at 4:15 p.m. in preparation for another scrimmage at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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