BATON ROUGE -- Running backs Keiland Williams and Richard Murphy paced the offense and Chad Jones, Danny McCray and Tyson Jackson led the defense as LSU went through its second full-scale scrimmage of the spring here Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
The scrimmage marked the end of LSU’s third week of spring drills. The Tigers conclude spring practice next week as LSU will hold workouts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday followed by the annual spring game at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 5.
“We had a good go,” LSU coach Les Miles said after the workout. “We ran over 100 plays and we had the 1’s (first offense) going against 1’s (first defense), in certain situations which gives you an idea to see how we're really progressing.
“It was good work. It certainly was a teaching practice. There was a lot of live scrimmage and it was one where we got a lot accomplished. We found some things that we'll be able to improve upon when we get to Monday. We'll take this film and dissect it and help this team continue to improve.”
Saturday’s scrimmage focused on all phases of the game, including time spent on kickoff and kickoff returns, the punting game, as well as field goals. The Tigers also spent time working on goal line situations, the 2-minute drill as well as third-and-long and other offensive situations.
LSU quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch split time running with the No. 1 offense. Lee connected on 10 of 17 passes for 94 yards and one touchdown, while Hatch completed 10 of 13 throws for 95 yards.
"Our young quarterbacks may not necessarily know what to do with the ball when it's (the receivers) covered, but that's an age thing and something that we'll certainly address and coach,” Miles said. “They certainly won't be young by the time we get to the fall.
”It wasn't a throwing scrimmage; that wasn't something we really wanted to work on. We really wanted to look at some other things. But both performed well and made more mature decisions with the ball.”
The Tiger offense put together nearly 200 yards rushing during the 100-play workout with Williams leading the way with 63 yards on eight attempts, while Murphy added 29 yards on seven attempts. Murphy had a pair of 12-yard runs against the No. 1 defense.
“I thought Richard Murphy had a pretty strong day,” Miles said. “He ran versus the first team defense a lot and had some nice runs. He really only accounted to about 30 yards, but they were hard-earned yards with quality carries.”
Defensive back Chad Jones stood out among all defenders, recording nine tackles, two tackles for losses along with a pass breakup. Other defensive standouts during the workout included Tyson Jackson with three tackles and a sack; Danny McCray with eight tackles and three sacks; and Drake Nevis with a pair of sacks. Safety Curtis Taylor added an interception for the Tiger defense.
"Defensively, I thought the defensive line played better than they had in the past,” Miles said. “I thought they improved. I think guys like Chad Jones showed up today and made big plays and really did some good things. Curtis Taylor had a nice pick. It was a good spring scrimmage – what we needed.”
LSU Head Coach Les Miles
March 29, 2008
"We had a good go. We ran over 100 plays. We had some 1's on 1's and anytime you do that you need to see how we're really progressing. It was good work. It certainly was a teaching practice. There was a lot of live scrimmage and it was one where we got a lot accomplished. We found some things that we'll be able to improve upon when we get to Monday. We'll take this film and dissect it and help this team continue to improve.
"It was sloppy; we had a fumbled snap on the third team. Our young quarterbacks may not necessarily know what to do with the ball when it's covered, but that's an age thing and something that we'll certainly address and coach. They certainly won't be young by the time we get to the fall.
"We rushed for about 200 yards. RB Richard Murphy, I thought, had a pretty strong day. He ran versus the first-team defense a lot and had some nice runs. He really only accounted to about 30 yards, but they were hard-earned yards with quality carries. RB Keiland Williams was our leading rusher with 63 yards on nine attempts and RB Charles Scott had 30 yards on seven attempts. So it wasn't bad.
"Both QBs Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee completed the ball about 10 times and threw for about 100 yards. It wasn't a throwing scrimmage; that wasn't something we really wanted to work on. We really wanted to look at some other things. But both performed well and made more mature decisions with the ball.
"Defensively, I thought the defensive line played better than they had in the past. I thought they improved. I think guys like S Chad Jones showed up today and made big plays and really did some good things. S Curtis Taylor had a nice pick. It was a good spring scrimmage – what we needed.
"Charles Scott may have been nicked up a bit with an ankle, but nothing serious we hope. We expect to have him back.
"It was a good day with beautiful weather -- beautiful Louisiana weather. We kicked balls; we did everything. It was a great lead up to the spring game."
On if the offense has been dialed back for QBs Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee...
"No, we're letting it rip. We're giving them everything we can and teaching them hard. It's not dialed back. The only time we'll dial back is when we get closer to the game. The games will be easier than some of these practices, I promise you. Right now we expect them to do everything, but when we get closer to the game we ask them to do only what they're capable of doing."
On what parts of the offense he feels QB Andrew Hatch in more comfortable with now...
"I think it's not more comfortable, it's a continuum. It has a start and a finish. The finish is game one, then it starts again and the finish is game two. I think that we're, not unlike other springs, in a position where our young guys have to come in, get better, and improve to make our team more competent and some of the veterans need to play better than they've played and we'll turn to them and give them leadership roles. I liked this scrimmage. It was what we needed."
On which wide receivers stood out during the game...
"Ricky Dixon made a couple of nice plays. I really enjoyed his contribution today. Terrance Toliver made some nice catches and ran a reverse and Demetrius Byrd ran a reverse. We did some nice things with these guys. I thought they had a pretty quality scrimmage."
On how much next week leading up to the spring game will be like a typical game week...
"It won't be anything like a game week. We'll practice much harder than we will in the fall and we'll take days off, which we never do in the fall."
On if they worked much on the return game...
"Yes, we did. We returned kicks and punts. We had S Chad Jones, CB Ron Brooks and CB John Williams return punts and RB Keiland Williams, Chad Jones and WR Brandon LaFell return kicks."
On if he's made this spring tougher to keep the team focused after wining the national championship...
"No, I think the process that we go through here is a pretty demanding process and I don't think there's anything here that needs to be done greater. We need to continue the process and continue to develop a team. That's just what we did a year ago. The thing about this team a year ago was that they continued to improve, so has this team."
On if it's more difficult to keep the players motivated when there's no game to prepare for...
"Yes. The veterans have played some pretty big games around here. This spring contest when you go against your buddies is not nearly as motivating. The young guys still understand that this is their opportunity to improve and their going o work hard to do so."
On how kickoffs looked during the scrimmage...
"They looked pretty good. We had eight kickoffs and I would say five were inside the five-yard line and one at the goal line. That's pretty representative. IT appears to me that the hang times were quality. It's not bad for this time, but I think our kickers will continue to improve during the fall and the summer, as well."
On if the return of QB Ryan Perrilloux is still on schedule...
"Yes, as far as I know. We find out about all of our guys on a regular basis. Monday will be another day."