“First day in shoulder pads was good,” Miles said. “It was a little warmer than the first two days. The first two days were kind of overcast and we got a little rain with a nice breeze. Today was really the first hot day and we were in shells, but it was good.”
The quarterback battle is the hot topic around Tiger Town right now and although Miles named Matt Flynn LSU’s starting quarterback at the SEC Media Days before fall camp began last summer he is in no hurry to make that distinction between Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee this season.
“I’ve always felt like competition plays out,” Miles said. “If there is absolutely a starting quarterback then you name him. But you never want to be premature and name the wrong guy. The starter is the starter. Whether he’s starting the first game of the year or the third game doesn’t make any difference. He’s our guy.”
A couple of players were missing and another was donning a green non-contact jersey in Wednesday morning’s practice but Tiger fans should not hit the panic button and assume that the injury big has already hit.
“He (Kellen Theriot) had a little shoulder injury over the summer and it (the green non-contact jersey) was just precautionary,” Miles said. “Brett Helms was not at practice today. He had a little calf strain that we’re resting. It’s not something that can be fixed any other way but resting. It’s not a terribly time consuming issue but we want him to be fresh. Charles Alexander did not practice this morning. Its soft tissue, not something that’s going to limit him in the fall.”
With Early Doucet having graduated, the Tigers need to find another player to become a leader of the wide receivers and the team in general.
“Anytime you have veteran guys they have to be your leaders,” he said. “They need to give some time for the young quarterbacks to come along and one of these running backs to emerge. That’s certainly the responsibility of Byrd and LaFell at this point. I think both guys are real strong team guys.
“They enjoy practice and work hard. The thing they both did a year ago was improve every week. I mean Demetrius Byrd shows up really in his first year and really works hard and keeps coming and coming. The same thing with LaFell. LaFell didn’t start as fast as he’d like. But for us to do what we want to do he has to start fast this fall.”
Miles is also looking for someone to step up and fill the role of Glen Dorsey who will no longer be suiting up for the Tigers.
While it’s never easy to replace a first team All American and top five NFL draft pick the team has high hopes that Ricky Jean Francois will be able to step up and take over in Dorsey’s absence.
“Glen Dorsey was a tremendous worker,” Miles said. “He was a guy that came to practice and really elevated his game through hard work and focus. Ricky Jean has similar abilities than Glen has. If he focuses and really applies himself I don’t any reason that he won’t have just as strong a year as Glen did.”
Special Teams Work
Even though the media has not seen any punting or kicking yet, Miles says they are putting plenty of special teams work in at every practice.
“We’re kicking and doing special teams at both the morning and afternoon practice,” he said. “We put punt return and punt block in today, and tomorrow will be kickoffs. We looked at some of the kicking on our kickoffs, and I think our kicking is coming around I really do.”
Freshmen Excite the Headman
Cordian Hagans was the first freshman to make the move up and practice with the veterans today.
Miles likes what he’s seen so far from the young defensive tackle, as well as the rest of the freshman class.
“Hagans is a big strong man and he moves pretty well,” Miles said. “I like our young defensive line. It’s a lot of fun to watch this freshman class practice in the afternoon. They’re going to be pretty good.”
A new running back this year that will definitely provide reliable hands out of the backfield is freshman Tyler Edwards, who is making the transition to H-back from tight end.
“He (Edwards) is going to be everything you want in a blocker and receiver,” Miles said. “We’ve actually handed him some balls. We’re excited about him. I think you’ll see he’ll come on and learn in that fullback role and then spend some time with the tight ends as well. He’s really had a good, quality start to this camp. He’s going to be in a position where he may get a chance to play as a true freshman.”
Another newcomer that has continued to impress is quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
“He’s a guy that’s very capable and a guy that’s going to have to get snaps this year,” Miles said. “We’re talking about snaps to win games.”
Speaking of freshmen, the young Tigers have yet to hold a full practice outside in the heat and humidity of South Louisiana. Miles says that’s because he doesn’t want to overwhelm the young players with too much too fast.
“Well, we’re teaching them different curriculums: steps, communications, how to line up,” he said. “We don’t necessarily need to teach them that plus heat. We’ll get that when we have lesser reps. Its more about the process than throwing it all at them at one time.”