The LSU football team wrapped up their second week of spring practice on Saturday with a 48-play scrimmage.
With his troops in full pads and primed for contact, what did Miles think of the day’s events?
“It was long, but the practice was a good one,” he said. “We scrimmaged with the first team and the second team, and we looked good. You can tell it’s still early in the spring, because we are not sharp and we are not ready to play, but I can tell you that there is a lot of enthusiasm.
“I would like to go again, because this is our first scrimmage of any length,” added Miles. “It was the shortest of four, and less than one half of the practice was devoted to scrimmage.”
The Tiger headman said that he was particularly impressed with what he has seen from defensive line coach Brick Haley’s unit.
“I really liked the way the defensive front played today,” Miles said. “They showed some schemes that in the past they might not have had. It felt like they played with a chip on their shoulder, and I think the offense struggled a bit with a new center and didn’t quite have the rhythm that they normally do.”
As for players to watch out for, Miles said that the play of senior Pep Levingston has picked up drastically since the 2008 season.
“Pep has had the most productive spring he has had around here,” he said. “He is making a case to be the guy at defensive end. He is always aligned and comes to play, so I look forward to this year for him.”
In the secondary, Miles said that he has seen nothing but promise from a youthful, deep group of defensive backs.
“We are seeing Patrick Peterson, Brandon Taylor and Chris Hawkins really play well,” he said. “Chad Jones seems pretty comfortable at safety, also. I think the secondary is coming pretty nicely. Ron Brooks is getting an opportunity as well, though I don’t know whether he will be at corner or safety, but he has earned a good look.”
The head ball coach said that Brooks’ talents would be felt right away, however, in the return game.
“Absolutely Ron will be out there,” Miles said. “As soon as the kickoff return goes in he will be back there returning for us.”
On offense, the four quarterbacks split the 48 snaps evenly as the Tigers closed the week out with the scrimmage.
“The quarterbacks could really be further ahead,” Miles said. “There is a lot of competition, and we are allowing the younger guys to get game reps at the expense of the development of the older guys. But, both [Jordan] Jefferson and [Jarrett] Lee look like guys that have been in the system. They look like they will be ready to play.
“Both young guys look like they have a way to go, but both guys made nice throws and nice runs today,” added Miles. “I’m pleased with the progress, but I wish there were more reps because I could have another practice for the young guys.”
As for Shepard’s stay at quarterback, Miles said that the future for the freshman remains up in the air.
“I don’t know that the move is imminent,” he said. “I think he had a very productive day at quarterback today. There will be some things that we try going forward that will get him out of that spot.”
After losing starting fullback Quinn Johnson to graduation and backup Steven Ridley to an ACL tear, the headman got some more bad news at the start of Saturday’s scrimmage.
“Richard Dugas started the practice at fullback and he got nicked,” Miles said. “He did not go anymore for us on the day, and I do not know the severity of the injury at this time.”
With the Tigers nearing the midway mark of the spring’s events, does Miles feel any differently taking to an off-season where off the field issues surrounding his highlight player were non-existent?
“To be honest, I didn’t really notice the background situation last spring,” he said. “Springs are all different, and it’s about developing the team. Serious issues here need work, and that’s where my attention has gone.”
On a side note, Trindon Holliday and Drayton Calhoun were both in green non-contact jerseys for the first time on Saturday.
“Trindon is in green for the reason that he is going to try to win a national event in the outdoor track season, so he’s fine,” Miles said. “Drayton just has a little [soft tissue] knick, so he could go. We just didn’t want him getting smacked.”