Mettenberger leads way in scrimmage

Junior quarterback passed for three touchdowns during Saturday's scrimmage.

LSU went through its second scrimmage of the spring Saturday, pitting the first-team offense against the first-team defense for over 100 plays in Tiger Stadium.

LSU coach Les Miles met with members of the media shortly after the 11 a.m. scrimmage, and here are some notes from the day.

  • Miles said the highlight of the scrimmage was junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who went 16-of-25 passing for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.

    Mettenberger hooked up with senior tight end Chase Clement for one touchdown in the red zone, and Miles said Mettenberger also favored sophomore wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, who each had 50 yards receiving.

    "I think we are really competing in the passing game very, very well," Miles said. "I think Mettenberger is a real leader there and enjoys his role."

    Miles said backup QB Stephen Rivers was 6-for-12 passing for 60 yards and a touchdown, but did not give stats for redshirt freshman Jerrard Randall, the team's third quarterback.

    "I think Rivers is really progressing," Miles said. "Randall has a very strong arm, but he's not used to the offense. It's going to take him some time.

  • The passing game totaled 287 yards, which barely edged out the multi-back rushing attack, which totaled 278 yards.

    "That's really good balance," Miles said. "We ran the football hard and were physical."

    Junior Spencer Ware had 12 carries for 90 yards, sophomore Kenny Hilliard had 13 carries for 60 yards, junior Alfred Blue had 10 carries for 67 yards and freshman Jeremy Hill had 10 carries for 56 yards.

  • Hill, who enrolled in January after sitting out the 2010 season, entered spring camp after not having played football in more than a year.

    But after a solid day rushing the football on Saturday, Miles said he is more confident than ever that Hill will be ready to contribute in the backfield next fall.

    "I think he's ready," Miles said. "If he loses a little bit of weight, he's going to be a very talented tailback. He's big, strong and talented."

  • Junior running back Michael Ford remained sidelined for the second scrimmage in a row, and he has yet to shed a green no-contact jersey this spring.

    Miles said Ford is likely to keep away from contact for the remainder of the spring.

    "What we are doing is giving him the most amount of time to get healthy," Miles said. "We are really going to give him the spring. We expect him, again, to be very healthy when it comes to the fall."

    Miles said Ford's knee has held him out of action, though he was brief as to the extent of the injury.

  • Saturday's scrimmage was situational as the team worked primarily on first-down and red-zone situations.

    "We had some red zone, tight zone, so there was some more scoring," Miles said.

    The team also didn't back the chains up after any yards lost, meaning the defense wasn't able to create advantages after big plays.

    "The thing that happens is we had six sacks, and those sacks make it very difficult to get first downs," Miles said. "So it's not an indication of how the defense played. It's more of an indication of some good running backs."

  • Junior Tyrann Mathieu was held out as the second cornerback behind junior Tharold Simon, meaning some younger Tigers got a chance to take cracks in the secondary against the first-team.

    "We put Mathieu in to play, but he had an ankle (injury)," Miles said. "I don't think it was very significant, but it bothered him."

    Miles said redshirt freshman cornerback Jalen Collins stepped in over the likes of redshirt freshman David Jenkins and sophomore Ronnie Vinson.

    "Jalen Collins is coming," Miles said. "I think he is going to be a good player. Micah Eugene is also that mold.

    "There are some other guys who are not necessarily ready to play."

  • The injuries went beyond Mathieu.

    Miles said the list of starters held out also included linebacker Tahj Jones, center P.J. Lonergan, wide receiver Kadron Boone and Ford. He also hinted that the first-team defensive line was banged up, but did not list names of those who sat out.

  • Progress is coming well with 2012 signee Reid Ferguson, who enrolled in January to become the immediate replacement for deep snapper Joey Crappell, who graduates this spring.

    Miles said Ferguson has locked up the starting job, meaning the scholarship should turn into four years with the same deep snapper working with the special teams unit.

    He is starting and doing a great job," Miles said. "It was a very important issue. There isn't any question. We have another long snapper, so there is some nice competition there."

  • Tiger Blitz Top Stories