Spring practice for the LSU football team is in full swing. After a pair of helmet-only practices, the Tigers strapped on the shoulder pads and began contact drills.
Defense shines in practice
On Saturday, LSU had its first scrimmage of the spring, and coach Les Miles said he believes the defense has the upper hand over offense thus far.
“I think the defense is doing very well,” Miles said. “I think the defense at this point certainly may well be ahead.”
In particular, Miles said he is pleased with the way sophomore Kendell Beckwith has adjusted to playing middle linebacker.
“I think he’s a really big presence inside, and he’s athletic enough to get his hands on the ball and defend the pass as well,” Miles said.
Next scrimmage scheduled for Saturday
The Tigers’ next scrimmage is Saturday, and Miles said it would last longer than last week’s scrimmage because he wants to put the team in different circumstances. Whereas the first scrimmage focused solely on first down and 10s, Miles said he wanted to test the Tigers in third down and short yardage situations Saturday.
Miles also said he plans to incorporate more special teams during the next scrimmage.
Receivers struggle early
Thursday’s practice had a few bumps, and there was some frustration with the receiving corps. Passes were constantly dropped by the receivers, forcing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to stop one of the passing drills.
But the receivers aren’t presently at full strength. Freshman wide receiver John Diarse was limited in Thursday’s practice because of a minor medical procedure, Miles said. According to Miles, it isn’t likely for Diarse to play in Saturday’s scrimmage, but he expects the wide receiver to be back in practice by Tuesday.
“With John [Diarse] back, it’s really a pretty good group,” Miles said. “But with John out, it takes more.”
Because of the lack of depth at receiver, Miles said the incoming recruits are expected to compete for significant playing time when they report to campus this summer. LSU had the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class, and wide receivers Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn, D.J. Chark and Tony Upchurch ranked in ESPN’s Top 300.
“It’s the guys coming in that we’ll look for to get in the mix,” Miles. “I think they’ll have the opportunity to compete very quickly.”
But with such uncertainty at wide receiver, the tight ends could be vital to the Tigers’ offensive success. Miles said he plans to utilize the pass-catching skills of both sophomore tight end DeSean Smith and incoming freshman Jacory Washington into the offense.
“Anytime that you have a [player] that is used to block, and he can also receive the ball, it makes just a tremendous difference in your attack,” Miles said.