BATON ROUGE -- Sophomore running back Richard Murphy rushed for 145 yards and accounted for a total of three scores to lead the White team to a 38-10 win over the Purple squad here Saturday in LSU’s annual Spring Game.
LSU’s annual Spring Game was played before a crowd of 33,624 in Tiger Stadium and featured a White team that was made up mainly of the 1s (first teamers) against a Purple squad that consisted mostly of the 2s.
“I felt like the spring game was incomplete, not necessarily exactly what we wanted,” LSU coach Les Miles said after the contest. “But considering it was divided teams with good players on both sides we felt like we got a lot accomplished.
“I liked the way we rushed the ball on offense. (Richard) Murphy was very loose and fast. He had a very strong showing. Keiland Williams had some nice carries, but no back can put the ball on the ground. He (Williams) did that, and that’s an issue.”
Murphy’s 145 rushing yards came on just 11 carries, which included scoring runs of four and 70 yards. He added another 52 receiving yards on a pair of catches, one of which resulted in a 53-yard touchdown. Williams, also playing for the White team, accounted for 36 yards on five carries but had one costly first half fumble. Redshirt freshman Stevan Ridley led the Purple team with 42 yards on eight attempts.
LSU quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch split time with both teams. Hatch combined to complete 13 of 17 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns, while Lee connected on 7 of 13 passes for 181 yards and two scores. Demetrius Byrd led all receivers with 132 yards on four catches, which included receptions of 57 and 60 yards.
“We felt like the young quarterbacks came in and did things we asked them to do,” Miles said. “Since it was the first time in that stadium with the crowd and in a game situation, I felt like they (the quarterbacks) managed it pretty well. A couple times they got started on the wrong foot, but eventually they got it squared away.
“Both guys could come in and play. I enjoyed the way Hatch managed the game at one point and felt like he was doing really well. I felt like Lee really got it started a little bit differently. Both got it turned around. Hatch got into a series where he got a little bit greedy and made a couple of bad calls and made a couple bad throws. I felt Lee came back and started making plays and got into a groove. I am comfortable with both quarterbacks.”
Defensively, safety Danny McCray paced the White team with six tackles and one tackle for a loss, while Ricky Jean-Francois had five tackles and one tackle for a loss. Tyson Jackson added three tackles and a sack for the White squad. Lazarius Levingston led the Purple team with four tackles, which included three tackles for losses and one sack.
“I can tell you on the defensive side we are nicked up pretty good,” Miles said. “There really isn’t a full contingent of linebackers, and I felt the defense would have played better if the linebackers would have been intact. I think they did well anyway.”
The Purple team, made up mainly of LSU’s No. 2 offensive and defensive unit, took the opening kickoff and went 91 yards on 11 plays to take its only lead of the contest at 7-0 on 8-yard TD pass from Hatch to Jared Mitchell.
The White squad tied the contest at 7-7 early in the second quarter on the first of Murphy’s three scores. Murphy’s four-yard run evened the contest with 13:51 remaining in the second quarter. The White team took the lead for good at 14-7 on a 12-yard pass from Hatch to Brandon LaFell.
The Purple squad pulled to within 14-10 late in the second quarter on a 42-yard field goal by Andrew Crutchfield. The White team struck right back, needing just one play – a 70-yard run by Murphy to extend the lead to 21-10 at halftime.
The second half featured a running clock and was highlighted by a 57-yard TD pass from Lee to Byrd and a 53-yard TD reception by Murphy from Lee. Colt David’s 23-yard field goal with two minutes left in the contest capped the scoring for the White team.
“All in all, it was a good spring game with quality snaps,” Miles said. “It was an opportunity to get a little bit better. The quality of execution was not game-like, but now we can put the team together and give us a great summer. I look forward to taking this team to the field in the fall.”
2008 LSU Football – Spring Awards
Toby Caston Performance Award
(outstanding performance in spring drills – defense)
Ralph Norwood Performance Award
(outstanding performance in spring drills – offense)
LSU Spring Game
April 5, 2008
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES QUOTES
“I felt like the spring game was incomplete, not necessarily exactly what we wanted, but considering it was divided teams with good players on both sides we felt like we got a lot accomplished. We felt like the young quarterbacks came in and did things we asked them to do. Since it was the first time in that stadium with the crowd and in a game situation, I felt like they (the quarterbacks) managed it pretty well. A couple times they got started on the wrong foot, but eventually they got it squared away.
“I enjoyed the kicking game. I felt like there was some improvement made there. It seemed to me we kicked the ball off pretty well. We will be covering live on Saturdays in the fall, but today I liked what the kickers got accomplished. (Senior PK) Colt David didn’t have his day, and there are a lot of reasons for that. He wasn’t necessarily comfortable with the holder and snapper, and there are new mechanics there. We have to make sure that that is taken care of. I would expect by the time we take the field in the fall that we will have that ironed out. I felt like both punters came in and didn’t get the kicks perfect. Beyond the negative punt, they came back and hit it well, and that’s what you really look for. I felt like both guys had a good spring and will be ready for competition in the fall.
“I like the way we rushed the ball on offense. (So. RB Richard) Murphy was very loose and fast. He had a very strong showing. (Jr. RB) Keiland Williams had some nice carries, but no (running) back can put the ball on the ground. He (Williams) did that, and that’s an issue. I can tell you on the defensive side we are nicked up pretty good. There really isn’t a full contingent of linebackers, and I felt the defense would have played better if the linebackers would have been intact. I think they did well anyway. (Sr. DE) Tyson Jackson had a nice day. (Jr. DT) Ricky Jean-Francois was solid, and (So. LB) Kelvin Sheppard and (Sr. LB) Darry Beckwith made some plays. All in all, it was a good spring game with quality snaps. It was an opportunity to get a little bit better. The quality of execution was not game-like, but now we can put the team together and give us a great summer. I look forward to taking this team to the field in the fall.”
On his comfort level with quarterbacks Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee ...
“Both guys could come in and play. I enjoyed the way (Jr. QB Andrew) Hatch managed the game at one point and felt like he was doing really well. I felt like (RS-Fr. Jarrett) Lee really got it started a little bit differently. Both got it turned around. Hatch got into a series where he got a little bit greedy and made a couple of bad calls and made a couple bad throws. I felt Lee came back and started making plays and got into a groove. I am comfortable with both quarterbacks.”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
On his first Spring game...
“When I first arrived here I was unsure about how I would adjust to everything. I was just getting into the groove and practiced more. Feels great to have a year under my belt with the team. I’ve had my first spring game and I feel more comfortable then ever. I’m ready for my senior year; this game was a great way to cap out my first season with the team.”
On the quarterbacks...
“You can’t compare the quarterbacks. Each one has a different style and approach to each different play. They are all good and making plays, that’s what we ask. They came out this season prepared hard for today and I thought they each did well. They held their own and made great decision.”
On preparing for the Fall...
“The summer is going to give everyone a chance to work harder on the field and in the weight room. Today was only a glimpse of how great this team has worked and will work to compete. I am excited about the results today and I’m excited about preparing for the fall.”
On if he feels he has a chance to be the starting running back in the fall...
“I feel like I have a lot more ground to make up. The starting job is still up in the air and I have a lot more improving to do.”
On what his thoughts were coming into the game...
“I really couldn’t sleep last night. I told myself this morning that whatever chance I get, I’m going to make the most of it.”
On if he feels he has improved since last year...
“I fell like I’ve improved a lot since last year. Sitting on my behind watching Jacob Hester play and the way he ran the position made me work harder and I feel that helped me a lot.”
On what he feels he has accomplished this spring...
“I think I became a better leader in going out to practice and having a positive attitude in everything I do. I don’t get myself down, I just stay positive. I think I’ve become a better player; a better blocker and a better pass catcher.”
On how good the team can be...
“This team can be just as good as it was last year. We have a lot of talent on our team. We can be just as good if everybody comes out and plays hard and plays together like we did last year.”
On his first over-the-shoulder catch...
“It felt really good because in the last few days of practice all the deep balls had been going to Demetrius Byrd and Chris Mitchell. I told them I want won and I got three, but two were overthrown when I was clearly open. When I caught that first one I felt really good about myself.”
On how it felt to return kicks...
“It felt good out there. Any time you can get the ball in your hands it fells really great to go out there and make a play for your team.”
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
On getting back onto the field in Tiger Stadium...
“I feel pretty good. I felt like we were coming back to play a real game in Tiger Stadium. We were just playing here not too long ago and now we are finishing off spring. We were playing in front of our home crowd again.”
On the defense...
“Everyone is doing their part. It feels like we didn’t miss a step. I know we lost a couple of seniors, but the people behind them must have gotten a lot of good mental reps. When they stepped up, they did their job.”
On his leadership role in the spring...
“I guess it’s something that just had to be handed down. After Glenn (Dorsey) left, there was nobody else on the defensive line who played all the snaps during the regular season. It was just something that I had to take over and just try to help out on the defensive line because of our young linebacker corps and the young secondary that we have.”
On the defensive line once again looking strong...
“It’s going pretty good right now because we have Ricky Jean-Francois back from track, and once Kirston Pittman and Charles Alexander get healthy, everything will take care of itself.”
On the game defensively...
“We are highly confident. We started off slow earlier in the scrimmage giving up too many yards and big plays, but we feel very confident about how we’re going to do this year.”
On how the defense tends to be further along than offenses in these scrimmages...
“As a defensive player, I’m always going to think the defense is ahead of everybody. We had a few players out defensively, so things are a little bit slow, and new people are coming in. Our offense is pretty good. We are starting over with our quarterback position, and we have new receivers and lineman playing, so it’s pretty balanced right now.”