BATON ROUGE - LSU coach Les Miles went into spring practice with an emphasis on doing a better job of running the football. The Tigers did just that on Saturday, rushing for 230 yards in what was the first full-scale scrimmage for LSU this spring.
Saturday's scrimmage closed out the second week of spring practice for the Tigers. LSU, now eight practices into spring drills, will go three times next week and four the following week. The Tigers will wrap-up the spring with the National L Club Spring Football Game on Saturday, March 27 in Tiger Stadium. Free tickets to the game are available at www.LSUtix.net.
Junior running back Stevan Ridley led the Tigers with 84 yards on 16 carries, while redshirt freshman Michael Ford added 79 yards on 16 attempts. Senior Richard Murphy (knee) did not see any action until the two-minute drill at the end of the scrimmage.
"We let them play today," Miles said of the scrimmage. "We worked on just about every situation. We wanted to get a lot of reps for the young players to see how they looked.
"I kind of felt like it was a physical day. The first defense played well and on offense, I thought we did a nice job of running the football. I think we got a lot accomplished. We called so many runs today that there is going to be a piece where the offense will have advantages because there was not down and distance pressures to throw it."
Miles said the scrimmage saw the No. 1 offense face the No. 1 defense for most of the snaps. Miles said the Tigers also spent time working on different phases of special teams, including field goals and punt coverage and punt return.
The Tigers went a total of 130 snaps during the workout with quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee getting most of the snaps. Jefferson connected on 10-of-21 passes for 86 yards, while Lee completed 9-of-20 for 105 yards and a touchdown. Lee's 43-yard scoring pass to Rueben Randle was the only touchdown of the day for the Tigers offense.
Randle led all receivers with 71 yards on four catches, while Deangelo Peterson caught six passes for 42 yards. Russell Shepard added 19 yards on three catches. Shepard also rushed for 35 yards on five attempts, including a 19-yard run, which was the longest running play of the day for the Tigers.
"It was very windy and I'm sure it hurt us throwing the long ball," Miles said. "We probably threw it for close to 200 yards. I thought both Jordan and Jarrett did some good things. They are improving with each practice. "
Defensively, senior linebacker Kelvin Sheppard led the squad with seven tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss. Redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Montgomery (5 tackles, 2 sacks), senior defensive tackle Drake Nevis (5 tackles, 1 sack) and redshirt freshman defensive end Michael Brockers (4 tackles, 1 sack) stood out among the LSU defensive linemen.
"The defense played well," Miles said. "Some of the young players on the defensive side stood out. Sam Montgomery had a good day and it appears he is coming along. Kelvin Sheppard provided leadership and had a strong day at linebacker. Drake Nevis and Michael Brockers had significant plays as well."
"I like our progress. The team understands what we are expecting from them. They want to be a physical football team. They are getting better."