Time to shine

The LSU football team will wrap up the first leg of their offseason workouts with the annual spring game Saturday evening in Tiger Stadium, and it's been quite an eventful offseason for the Tigers.

LSU head coach Les Miles has had his hands full this offseason, taking on the tasks of righting the ship from a five-loss season as well as replacing a defensive coaching staff.

The steps that the headman has taken to handle the team’s offseason issues have been perhaps biggest for the Tigers’ youth, seeing a crop of unproven talent take to the field in a big way over the last month of workouts.

Saturday represents their chance to show how far they come.

“We want to use this day as an opportunity to see the guys step up and play well and for the veterans to take the lead,” Miles said. “We want everybody to play well. This is an opportunity for our team to get better, and we will approach the day that way.”

Splitting the team into first team offense and defense and second team offense and defense, Miles said that the contest would be “game like in nature.”

“We’ll require a certain number of special teams snaps and then at some point in time when I feel like we’ve had enough, we’ll go right to the play and put the ball down on the 30- or 40-yard line and run it from there,” he said.

 “I’m shooting for 60-play participation for both units.  That would be 120 plays plus special teams, and that would be a good go.”

The White team, made up of first and third teamers, will be led on offense by quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee as well running backs Charles Scott and Keiland Williams.

Defensively the group is headed by Chad Jones, Kelvin Sheppard, Rahim Alem, Charles Alexander, Drake Nevis and Al Woods.

The Purple Team’s offense will be led by a pair of rookie quarterbacks in Russell Shepard and Chris Garrett along with junior running back Richard Murphy and sophomore wide receiver Tim Molton. 

Defensively, the unit will feature safety Ron Brooks, cornerback Chris Hawkins, linebacker Ryan Baker and defensive back Danny McCray.

McCray, who is running as the second-team free safety behind Jones, said that the day should provide the Tigers with a chance to show how far they have come since December.

“I think that we just want to come out and prove that this team has been working really hard to turn things around from last season,” he said. “Nobody wanted that finish, and you can feel the turnaround in the air.

“People are ready to show that this team is one of the most talented there is, and I think that starts with a big performance from everybody on Saturday night.”

Now a veteran of offseason workouts with the Tigers, Scott said that the game would go a long way in determining the pace at which the Bayou Bengals make the turnaround.

“We need to come out with a lot of intensity, especially offensively,” he said. “The offense has been getting overmatched from that point in our other scrimmages, and Saturday is the big chance to flip that.

“I think that if we can get out there and have a productive day then people will realize that this group of guys is serious about being one of the best in the nation.”

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