Tigers go through midway scrimmage

LSU coach Les Miles put his Tigers through their eighth practice of spring drills on Saturday with a 70 play scrimmage that featured offense, defense and special teams. Players participated in position drills to begin practice, which was capped off by the scrimmage.

Miles said the majority of plays called were first-and-long and third-and-long, with four goal-line plays. Miles said he liked the effort he saw, and that the defense still remains ahead of the offense.


"It was a great day. Good Practice," Miles said. "No significant injuries. Tyson Jackson and Early Doucet had big days. Both quarterbacks played well."


The defense dominated the scrimmage according to Miles, allowing few big plays for the young offense with a series of blitzes. Senior receiver Early Doucet caught a long ball that did not reach the end zone due to an officials ruling, while the running game produced behind several runners including Alley Broussard, Richard Murphy, Keiland Williams and Charles Scott.


Miles has been exceptionally impressed with the effort of Murphy thus far, saying the freshman is about caught up with the offense after missing his freshman season due to academics.


"A lot of the guys are trying to step in and be starters," Miles said. "Young offensive line got a little taste of the veteran defensive line today. That's good for them. Some young guys made some mistakes today, but we will get those fixed."


First-team offense ran 15-to-20 plays against the first-team defense according to Miles, with the starting defense dominating the starting offense. With the defense playing superbly and the offense improving every practice, Miles said he likes where this team is going.


"It has the makings of a good spring," Miles said. "Eight practices in and eight to go. We are nowhere near the team we want to be. But we are heading in the right direction."


At receiver, Miles said he liked the production of his two veteran wide-outs in Doucet and Brandon LaFell. The two have played well throughout the spring, while the freshmen crop of receivers still have a long way to go.


"If [Ricky Dixon, Jared Mitchell and Chris Mitchell] are satisfied with standing back there, then they will be there for about another year," Miles said. "All three have the ability to compete and at times look like players we can go to."


One freshman next season that can make a difference will be 6-foot-5-inch Terrance Toliver. The 180 pound speedster was rated the No. 1 receiver in America by Scout.com and could see significant playing time next season in the Tigers more wide-open offense.


"It depends on what kind of skill," Miles said in reference to how much playing time a quality freshman should receive. "If they bring incredible ability, then those players need the opportunity to learn."


Originally Toliver's GPA and test scores were a concern for Miles, but said both have improved recently.


Defensively, Miles couldn't stop praising the efforts of junior defensive end, Tyson Jackson. 


"I think he is having a great spring," Miles said. "I think he is going to be a tremendous participant for us. He is a leader and a quality person. He is in our unity council. I have a regular Wednesday meeting. He contributes very regularly. On the field he is tough to block."


On special teams, Colt Davis is having a great spring camp according to Miles, while senior punter Patrick Fisher has improved greatly over the year.


"Pattie Fisher had a couple of nice punts," Miles said. "He is very talented. He had some quality punts. It appears to me that he has really improved. He has improved in hang time, distance and consistency."


One concern Miles said he had before entering spring drills were the leadership positions. With the loss of several starters and key locker room figures, Miles said there were big shoes to fill.


Thus far, Miles approves of the leadership stepping up, and is excited to see players such as Jackson, Doucet, Jacob Hester and Brett Helms take active roles in their team.


"Leadership is stepping up," Miles said. "There is a good feel to the team."


One key figure from last season made a guest appearance at practice in Dwayne Bowe.


The potential first-round draft pick chatted with players and coaches after his workout as he prepares for Wednesday's combine practice for NFL scouts in the Indoor Facility.


Miles was also excited to hear JaMarcus Russell was back in town, and couldn't wait to ‘see the big guy.'


"I think the guys that come back expect us to hold that tradition of excellence and hold the young players accountable," Miles said of former players coming back to visit the team.


Incoming freshman Chad Jones was also in attendance. The Scout.com No. 1 safety watched practice from afar, wearing his Southern Lab baseball uniform.

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