LSU's Richard Murphy
Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
Defense, Running Backs Highlight First Full Scrimmage
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Published: March 13, 2008, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:32 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU’s defensive units and running backs stood out in the Tigers first full-scale scrimmage of the spring on Thursday afternoon inside Tiger Stadium.

“The defense is a little ahead of the offense at this time,” head coach Les Miles said. “The defense played well. They gave up some big plays, which were the exception. RB Richard Murphy had a nice run against the first-team defense. Other than that, Most of the afternoon was tough sledding for the offense, which is the way it’s supposed to be early in the spring.”

LSU’s defensive scored two touchdowns on interception returns by LBs Kelvin Sheppard and Lydell Smith. Sheppard returned his pick 50 yards for a score, while Smith’s was a seven-yard return to the end zone.

The LSU running back corps gained over 150 yards on the ground with Murphy colleting 94 of those, including a 40-yard touchdown run.

Richard Murphy had a nice day. He had a 40-yard run against the first-team defense and picked up some tough yards,” Miles said. “RB Stevan Ridley looked like he played well. Our running backs showed well. I guess that we probably had close to 150 yards rushing so that wasn’t bad.”

LSU’s No. 1 offense went head to head with the No. 1 defense for 14 live plays during the scrimmage and the No.1 and No. 2 offensive and defensive units each saw 48 live plays.

Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch both took snaps at quarterback with the No. 1 offensive unit. Lee was 10-13 for 100 yards and Hatch was 8-12 for 70 yards.

“We were sloppy in our execution,” Miles said. “It didn’t look like the style of offense that we’re used to that can sustain drives down the field, but that’s significant of the eight practice of the spring. We certainly hope we get better as we’re going for the rest of the spring. We turned the ball over a little bit more than we would have liked, but most of that was the third team. For the first significant scrimmage, it was what we expected.”

LSU will take the next 13 days off of the practice field for spring break.

LSU Head Coach Les Miles

Opening Statement...

“It was the first real scrimmage of note. We had some big plays. I think Jarrett Lee was 10-of-13 passing for just under 100 yards. Andrew Hatch was 8-for-12 or thereabouts. We did some good things and made some big plays, but we’re still a little sloppy.

“We were sloppy in our execution. It didn’t look like the style of offense that we’re used to that can sustain drives down the field, but that’s significant of the eight practice of the spring. We certainly hope we get better as we’re going for the rest of the spring.

“The defense is a little ahead of the offense at this time. The defense played well. They gave up some big plays, which were the exception. RB Richard Murphy had a nice run against the first-team defense. Other than that, most of the afternoon was tough sledding for the offense, which is the way it’s supposed to be early in the spring.

Richard Murphy had a nice day. He had a 40-yard run against the first-team defense and picked up some tough yards. RB Stevan Ridley looked like he played well. Our running backs showed well. I guess that we probably had close to 150 yards rushing so that wasn’t bad.

“We turned the ball over a little bit more than we would have liked, but most of that was the third team. The defense scored twice with interceptions so it was a little sloppy. For the first significant scrimmage, it was what we expected.”

On the breakdown of the scrimmage...
“There were 14 plays of first-team offense vs. first-team defense. There were 48 live snaps per first unit and second unit.”

On which quarterbacks played with the first-team offense...
Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch split time with the first- and second-team offense.”

On the battle for the starting right tackle spot between Joseph Barksdale and Jarvis Jones...
“I think it’s a great competition between some very capable guys. I expect it to play out throughout the spring. I don’t think there’s any lead at this point.”

On the cornerbacks trying to replace former players Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon...
“I noticed that Phelon Jones made a nice tackle and John Williams made a nice tackle. There were some other plays, but nothing really significant.”

On who will back up TE Richard Dickson and FB Quinn Johnson...
Alex Russian had a 50-yard reception going against the third-team defense. He looked pretty good. I think it’s non-descript at this point. There are some guys getting better, but nothing significant to report. Right now we’re thinking that the backup to Quinn Johnson may not be on campus until this fall. It may be one of the guys coming in this next recruiting class.”

On the special teams portion of the practice...
“We punted and Josh Jasper had a couple of nice punts. Brady Dalfrey was inconsistent as a function of the snap and hold. We kicked three field goals after and Colt David was perfect when he had a nice snap and hold. We kicked off but it was only for the return team.”

On if he ran the whole offense...
“We gave the whole offense to them and we called it from the sidelines so they had to get the signal and there were some missed signals, certainly. The guys are stepping into Tiger Stadium for the first time so that may have something to do with it. As for the quarterbacks, it’s their first time to really run things and I think they’re picking it up. I think they’re doing well. This being the first real scrimmage I think it will benefit them as we go onto the second and the third.”

On the interceptions thrown...
“They were errors. Our third quarterback threw it to LB Lydell Smith and he scored and LB Kelvin Sheppard made a nice pick.”

On how the wide receivers played...
Brandon LaFell had a couple of nice catches today. Jared Mitchell had a couple of good grabs and tough catches. There were a number of receivers that made good catches and some nice plays today, but it’s not a full game.”

On what he tells his team going into spring break...
“Everything in moderation. Go home. Watch TV. Lay on the couch. Eat mama’s food. Go to church. Get ready to come back next Monday, we’ll have a meeting and review this film and start practicing that week.”

On his spring break plans...
“I guarantee I’ll catch a swim meet this weekend. My daughter has a significant meet for her this weekend.”

On who wins when the first-team offensive line plays the first-team defensive line...
“I think that today’s line matchup would have to go to the defense. It’s very competitive and there’s a lot of scrapping going on.”

On if Ricky Jean-Francois practiced...
“Absolutely.”

On if he held anybody out of practice...
Will Blackwell was held out of practice. He had a concussion. It’s probably best to hold him out until after the break.”

On if he is looking to switch any players’ positions...
“There are a couple of guys that we’re considering. There’s a couple of guys on the defensive line we might move to the offensive line. There’s a guy at cornerback that we might move to the wide receiver spot.”

On the long layoff between practices...
“I did this several times at another place that I coached and I found that when the players came back, they were really in step and they didn’t lose anything. We didn’t have to re-teach anything and there was a lot of carry over. We’re going to come

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