A few things before the break
The LSU football team took a day off on Sunday before returning to the grind on Monday afternoon, when coach Les Miles said the group went through one of their best workouts during the short time the team has been in preparation for the BCS National Championship.
“It’s a lot of LSU vs. LSU,” Miles said. “It was a good practice. The speed of practice is getting better.”
The final practice of the week comes on Wednesday, and then the team will reconvene for bowl preparations on Dec. 27.
“We will work this way for the next two days, then let them go and enjoy Christmas,” Miles said. “Then we will bring them back and put in the remainder of the game plan.”
Extra time, extra reps
With the extended preparation period comes a chance for Miles and the staff to dig deeper into the second and third team – specifically for the first and second year players that could make an impact next season.
“We are getting a little more work with those guys,” Miles said. “The young guys are looking pretty veteran right now.”
When asked for names that have stood out from the rest, Miles singled out an offensive and defensive player.
“Jordan Allen is going to be a really good player,” he said. “You see guys improving, like Elliot Porter. There are a number of guys putting themselves into position.
“I think the secondary guys are good players, too.”
Porter, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound freshman, originally signed with Kentucky but has since transferred to LSU. The Shaw graduate is in line to take over the starting center job once P.J. Lonergan graduates after the 2012 season.
Allen, a redshirt freshman, is a 6-foot-6, 252-pound defensive end out of West Monroe.
Standing out on special teams
Most programs will introduce players to the college game by letting them loose on special teams, and more often than not a player is able to carve out his niche by earning increased reps in the third phase of the game.
For Miles, the most recent player to make the most of his time is sophomore linebacker Tahj Jones.
Though Jones is undersized at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, the Sulphur native makes up for it with a relentless effort and desire for contact – which has shown off on kickoff and punt coverage.
In 13 games and just one start, Jones has 24 tackles, the majority of which came on special teams.
“Tahj Jones is just unbelievable right now on special teams,” Miles said. “He’s really playing well.
“It’s those guys that take coaching and fight like heck and have natural abilities that continue to improve.”
Another ESPN spot
LSU welcomes Erin Andrews and an ESPN television crew to campus this week for a segment on the team’s preparation for the national championship.
Interviews began on Tuesday afternoon, and the majority of the segment will be filmed on Wednesday from the Football Operations Building.
For Miles, it’s another chance to showcase his program to the rest of the country.
“We have played eight nationally ranked opponents and been to (ESPN Game Day) several times, and we were on national television all but once,” Miles said. “It’s a reflection of what this team has accomplished and the body of work that has taken place in the program.
“It serves future teams here well. The country recognizes we have played all comers, and played extremely well. That will benefit us as we strive to continue doing things.”
Quick hitters from the headman
On Will Blackwell’s All-American season…
“I kind of thought he would have that kind of season, especially after we lost him so early last season. I think he’s a pretty physical player, and that’s a product of contact. He’s kind of a heavy, physical specimen.” - Miles
On Louisiana native and Alabama running back Eddie Lacy’s recruitment at LSU…
“He’s a heck of a player. He just had some concerns that did not actually turn out. We certainly recognize he is doing very well.” - Miles
On playing a team twice in one season…
“Once with the (Dallas) Cowboys we were fortunate to be completely undefeated in our division. We beat everyone twice. I think you just do the things that you do. We take a fundamental approach.” - Miles