The Tigers’ headman said he was not altogether pleased with Tuesday’s practice, and he expects more from his team on Thursday’s final go before the spring game on Saturday.
“Practice today was good,” Miles said. “This practice is kind of a precursor to a Saturday scrimmage, and I think the guys just kind of went by this one a little bit. I don’t know that their focus was just how I wanted it to be. We got a lot of good work done, but I think we’re better than we practiced today. I’m going call them to practice well on Thursday.”
Miles did admit that his disappoint with today’s practice could be due to the fact that the team came back from spring break yesterday much stronger than he was expecting.
“Yesterday’s practice was really a good tempo for the first one back,” he said. “They probably spoiled me. I anticipated today’s practice would have picked up more. We had the same tempo, just not as crisp as we’re used to being.”
And of course, all of the practices this spring will culminate with Saturday’s spring game. While the teams will not be chosen until after Thursday’s practice, Miles already has a good idea of the format for Saturday.
“This is going to be game in nature,” Miles said. “We’ll require certain special team snaps, and at some point when I feel like we’ve had enough of those we’ll go right to the play. We’ll put the ball down on the 30 or 40 or whatever appears to be the natural spot and run it from there.”
“I think the first half will be a normal game clock and the second half will be a running clock. I’m shooting for a 60 play participation; 120 plays plus special teams would be a good go.”
Saturday’s spring game will give everyone a first look at the many changes the Tigers have made since their last game, including coaches and players. Miles talked about perhaps the biggest player change to happen this spring, Harry Coleman moving from strong safety to linebacker.
“It appears to me that he can play that backer spot or that nickel spot just as comfortably as there is,” Miles said of Coleman. “He’s a guy that’s very physical and enjoys playing up front and can tackle. I think if he gets comfortable there then we are better. And we have to have an extra linebacker body in terms of all the spread offenses we’re going to see.”
Miles says moving Coleman to linebacker gives the team more options at the position, and it was a move Coleman made with no hesitation.
“He’s a team guy and wants whatever is best for the team,” Miles said. “He wants to help improve the football team. There was never any hesitation. I like his quickness and toughness already, so I don’t think he’ll be asked to put on anymore weight.
“With shuffles, you can very quickly have Kelvin Sheppard at mike backer and Perry Riley at the other backer,” Miles added. “It just gives us another quality guy to be in the mix. We were a little thin in terms of depth, no question.”
While the rumors of Coleman moving to linebacker were swirling before spring practice even started, Miles wanted to make sure there was a viable plan at Coleman’s old spot before moving him to a new one.
“We wanted to see which safeties might well be the best and what would benefit us most,” he said. “We wanted to get a good look and not move too quickly. We like the guys we have at the safety position with Chad Jones at one spot and Karnell Hatcher, Danny McCray and Ron Brooks, and the possible influx of two guys from the freshman class in Craig Loston and Josh Johns.”
Miles also addressed another change that has happened recently in the secondary with Jai Eugene getting a chance to run with the first team ahead of Patrick Peterson.
“We’re just moving guys around and looking at possibilities to get evaluations on guys,” Miles said. “We don’t want to go into the fall without a real good spring evaluation. I think that’s one of the best things we’re doing in the secondary.
“Patrick Peterson is certainly a guy we all know about and enjoy. This is not a reflection of his performance in any way. We know what he can do, and we don’t need a better evaluation on him.”
Finally, Miles addressed the status of a few of the players missing from practice this week.
“Charles Scott we missed on Monday and he came back,” Miles said. “He had some academic issues he had to take care of, and we enjoyed his presence today. Jhyryn Taylor looks like he may miss the spring game. I think Terrance Toliver is questionable. He fell on the turf yesterday and got a concussion.”
Miles noted that Trindon Holliday will not be participating in Saturday’s spring game. He also does not expect to see Russell Shepard lining up anywhere besides quarterback.