Les Miles enjoyed slap-boxing as a kid.
He didn't call it shadowboxing, "slap-boxing," he said, and he only enjoyed it until someone was hit in the nose.
After TMZ's released video of running back Leonard Fournette and offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield "horse playing" — or slap-boxing — on Wednesday, Miles reminisced about his horse-playing days as he met with the media Thursday morning.
“I want you to know something, back when I was a kid, we all thought it was really cool," he said. "But we didn’t call shadowboxing, we called it slap-boxing. It was really cool until the first time somebody hit you in the nose and it became really not so cool. We’re finding out that it can be not so cool. There’s no question that they were involved in a game called ‘Tapout.’ It was certainly entertaining for the guys doing the video. ‘That didn’t count!’ as they kept score. You make the point certainly, ‘let’s not be at risk, athletically for injury.’ Let’s get some time off so you can get your legs back. Let’s not get involved in a highly-active off-field game.”
Maea Teuhema has returned
Expected starting left tackle Maea Teuehama has returned to LSU's practice, Miles confirmed.
The 315-pound lineman was nursing a sprained ankle for the beginning of LSU's fall camp. Junior K.J. Malone was filling in as Teuhema's interim left tackle. Malone is expected to slide into a guard position and compete for a starting position, there.
“Really he was working at left tackle and some on the right side as well," Miles said of Teuhema.
But, if the guard competition fades or finds other prospects, could Miles see Teuhema and Malone filling in the right and left tackle positions?
“I absolutely could see that," Miles said.
Underclassmen stepping up amid injuries
Miles didn't expect to see the efficient production LSU's freshman are already exerting.
With three of the Tigers front seven members — Christian LaCouture, Isaiah Washinton and Corey Thompson — down with respective leg injuries, Miles didn't seemed stressed or worried about the new faces the defense may soon see.
Guys like Ray Thornton, Devin White and Michael Divinity Jr., all beefy and agile freshman linebackers, could see the field faster than Miles expected.
“I have to be real honest with you," Miles said, "I didn’t expect those guys to be as talented as they are and I can’t imagine that we won’t rely on those guys because they show the ability to have toughness, agility and speed. I think there’s definitely an opportunity for that now.”
After former starting defensive end LaCouture's torn ACL, Davon Godchaux has shifted to fill his spot while Greg Gilmore will be stationed at nose tackle.
But, again, more freshmen are gunning for the position too, Miles said.
"We feel kind of fortunate that we had a couple of underclassmen step forward," he said. "You’re looking at Greg Gilmore, he can certainly step in there with a lot of experience and understand how to play the position. (Freshmen) Ed Alexander and Rashard Lawrence and the new guy, [Travonte Valentine] he may fit in there as well. We ought to be able to field a really quality nose tackle.”
Travonte Valentine's body is density, Miles said.
Valentine, a 330-pound defensive lineman, is a low-slung and athletic and is also, now, a competitor for LSU's recently open nose tackle position.
“He’s developing an understanding for what we’re asking him to do. He brings a natural physicality. He’s low-slung, big, athletic man. He should give us, certainly, a playmaker in the front.
“He was really in good shape when he showed up. Last time he was here, he was just under 400 pounds. He’s about 330, maybe 336 now. He’s really in pretty good shape. We watched him run today, he ran pretty well. We’re a couple weeks away. And shape is something that we think we can get him in.
“Sometimes big men kind of defy what he should weigh. I think he should weigh 270, but I think his body is density if you will, one that allows him to play a little heavier and still play quick, use his strength to his advantage. Could be pretty special.”
You can reach Christian Boutwell on Twitter, @CBoutwell_TDR