Saban: First fall scrimmage sloppy, not crisp

On a Friday afternoon when the heat index factor reached 108 degrees, the LSU football team conducted what Nick Saban called a quick, sloppy first scrimmage in Tiger Stadium.

Saban, who didn't allow the media to watch Friday's scrimmage, said he ran approximately 100 total plays with his squad. The head coach said his team "wasn't as crisp" and was "a little more sloppy" than what he hoped for, but Saban also acknowledged that his players might have treated the scrimmage as just another installment of work in pre-season camp, which entered day No. 12 since the Tigers' freshmen reported to campus Aug. 6.

"For this time of the year, I think it's a tough time," he remarked. "With all the practicing we've done, it was tough to get the kind of execution and crispness you'd like out there in a scrimmage to get ready for the game.

"But there were some good things done out there. I thought the quarterbacks threw the ball pretty well and I thought we caught the ball a little bit better and more consistently than we did in the spring. We had some good runs and made some big plays, especially in the passing game."

Saban said senior quarterback Rohan Davey, who completed 16 of 28 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns, took nearly all of the snaps with the first team and led an offense that was a bit more aggressive than the defense.

"The young guys on defense looked like they were playing on eggshells … instead of just turning it loose," Saban said.

Behind Davey, redshirt freshmen Marcus Randall and Matt Mauck split time with the No. 2 offense. Randall completed 7 of 15 passes for 108 yards, while Mauck was 3-for-7 with 80 yards and two touchdowns. True freshman Rick Clausen was 2-for-3 with 22 yards.

The Tigers spent a portion of the scrimmage working on third down situations, goal line situations and the two-minute drill. LSU also spent time working on all phases on the special teams.

Redshirt freshman Derron Parquet led all rushers with 61 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, while Devery Henderson ran for 44 yards and one touchdown on six carries. Henderson, who continues to work with both the running backs and wide receivers, also caught three passes for 51 yards. Jerel Meyers led all receivers with five receptions for 71 yards.

Jack Hunt, Michael Clayton, Bennie Brazell and Marcus Spears each caught touchdown passes during the scrimmage.

During the scrimmage, offensive tackles Terry Phillips and Brad Smalling both suffered sprained ankles, and guard Kade Comeaux bruised his shoulder, but all three players came back before the end of the day, Saban said. Defensive tackle Tyrone Barnes played sparingly because of an illness, and defensive end Kenderick Allen also missed time with a strained hamstring. Wide receiver Josh Reed, who participated in 7-on-7 drills, stayed out of the scrimmage because of stiffness in his neck.

Saban added that his team was basically free of serious injuries.

Of the 100-or-so plays the Tigers ran Friday, roughly 40 were with the first team, 40 were with the second-stringers and 20 were with the third team. Saban said many players were around the 50-play mark, which is roughly two-thirds of what they would usually see in an actual game.

"They hit the wall today. That's why I'm a little disappointed. … To them players, (the scrimmage) was just grindin' that coffee," Saban said.

Concerning any battles at certain positions, Saban said his depth chart is essentially the same as the one he released in the pre-season.

"After today, we may change some things and move some players around," he said. "If we handed

Saban said he wasn't trying to hide anything by withholding a depth chart; he simply doesn't have one written down because it's not as cut-and-dried whether one player is ahead of another.

"If we handed out a piece of paper, it wouldn't look like that," Saban said. "It'd look more like a road map."

In other words, Henderson does some things better than Parquet or fellow tailback Joseph Addai. Domanick Davis does some things better than LaBrandon Toefield, even if Toefield is the Tigers' starter in the backfield.

Saban said if he listed one man ahead of another, it wouldn't be a true indication of their potential contribution to the team.

Asked about the competition between Smalling and senior Jason Baggett at right tackle, Saban did say that Baggett might be out-performing Smalling on his way into a starting position — despite the fact that Baggett missed some time because of an intestinal virus.

"We're not disappointed in anybody, but Jason Baggett has had a really good camp," Saban said.

Preparation for the 2001 season continues with two practices Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Tigers will follow with one practice at 3 p.m. Sunday. Their second and final scrimmage before LSU's season opener with Tulane is scheduled for Wednesday night, when Saban plans to turn on the lights and put assistant coaches in the press box.

"I think the next scrimmage," said Saban, "we'd probably make it more game-like."

LSU Scrimmage Statistics

Courtesy of LSU Sports Information

Rushing

Derron Parquet 13 attempts, 61 yards, 1 TD

Devery Henderson 6 attempts, 44 yards, 1 TD

Joseph Addai 7 attempts, 34 yards

Domanick Davis 7 attempts, 11 yards

Shyrone Carey 2 attempts, 10 yards

LaBrandon Toefield 3 attempts, 5 yards

Passing

Rohan Davey 16-for-28, 165 yards, 2 TDs

Marcus Randall 7-for-15, 108 yards

Matt Mauck 3-for-7, 80 yards, 2 TDs

Rick Clausen 2-for-3, 22 yards

Receiving

Jerel Meyers 5 receptions, 71 yards

Devery Henderson 3 receptions, 51 yards

Michael Clayton 3 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD

Jack Hunt 3 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD

Bennie Brazell 2 receptions, 61 yards, 1 TD

Marcus Spears 2 receptions, 27 yards, 1 TD


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