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LSU's Kenny Hilliard
Photo by:Elizabeth Thompson
Football Improves in First Full Scrimmage
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Published: March 22, 2014, 05:28 PM (CT)
by Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette), Sr. Assoc. Athletic Director/SID

BATON ROUGE – Continued improvement on both sides of the ball was the theme for LSU on Saturday as the Tigers held their first full-scale scrimmage of the spring here in Tiger Stadium.

Saturday’s scrimmage was the first of three for the Tigers this spring. LSU will scrimmage again next Saturday and then wrap up spring drills with the annual National L Club Spring Game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 5.

“Let me characterize today by saying that there was improvement in assignment, improvement in snap, cadence and function,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “It was a much more competitive go, offense and defense. We threw the ball well and rushed the ball well at times. We really defended well, but we did have some missed tackles that allowed the offense to extend drives.”

Miles complimented the play of quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris and the running of Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee.

“We still want to push the ball down the field,” Miles said of the offense. “We had two big passes downfield and we probably threw for just under 300 yards today with some nice deep throws. Both quarterbacks were sharp, and the passing game overall was sharp. We dropped a couple passes that were right on the money but overall, we were able to complete a lot of balls.

“Both (Terrence) Magee and Kenny Hilliard had really nice running days today,” Miles said. “I think Magee is going to have a great fall, and I think Hilliard is going to have a great fall. It looks to me that Kenny Hilliard has lost a little bit of weight, and he’s a little bit quicker than he’s been.”

Stats from the scrimmage were not released, but Miles noted that sophomore Travin Dural caught a long touchdown pass, while Hilliard ran for a pair of TDs.

Defensively, Miles said he continues to be impressed with the improvement of the defensive line, in particular that of defensive tackles Christian LaCouture and Maquedius Bain and defensive end Tashawn Bower. LaCouture and Bain each had sacks for the defense, while Bower added a couple a quarterback pressures.

“I think we protected pretty well today, but we did get a pass rush,” Miles said. “What happens in matchups, if you’re a second string offensive lineman up there against Danielle Hunter, it’s just not fair. Christian LaCouture had a couple nice pressures and saw him get a sack. I think Tashawn Bower had a good day as well. I’ve been impressed with the play of the defensive line and I think they continue to get better with each practice.”

Miles also complimented the play of special teamers Trent Domingue and Colby Delahoussaye.

“We made a lot of improvement in the punting game,” Miles said. “Jamie Keehn isn’t getting a lot of snaps right now, but Trent Domingue has really improved. I think we were perfect with 42 (Colby Delahoussaye) at field goals and really got better as team in this scrimmage.”

After Saturday’s scrimmage, LSU is now past the halfway point of spring practice with just five practices and two scrimmages remaining on the schedule. Miles said he likes the improvement that Tigers have made through the first eight practices of the spring.

“You look at this scrimmage and it was a really strong event for us,” Miles said. “I think our team is in position now to take some real strides and work towards being a very good football team. I liked how the offensive line performed, and I liked how the defensive line performed. I felt like there was a lot of competition there. Again, I think we are putting ourselves in position to have a physical, deceptive, quality football team.”

LSU will return to practice on Tuesday afternoon in the first of three workouts next week for the Tigers.

LSU Spring Football Scrimmage
March 22, 2014

LSU Head Coach Les Miles Quotes

Opening Statement…
“Let me characterize today: There’s improvement in assignment, improvement in snap, cadence and function. It was a much more competitive go, offense and defense. We threw the ball well and rushed the ball well at times. We really defended well and had some missed tackles that extended drives and extended gains. We made a lot of improvement in the punting game. Jamie Keehn isn’t getting a lot of snaps right now, the punter Trent Domingue has really improved. I think we were perfect with 42 (Colby Delahoussaye) at field goals and really improved this scrimmage. If you look at the number two (second scrimmage), it was really a strong event. I think our team is in position now to take some real strides and work towards being a very good football team. I liked how the offensive line performed, and I liked how the defensive line performed. I felt like there was a lot of completion there. We got nicked a little bit. I think Terrance Magee got a sprained ankle. But that was really kind of it; there were some guys with bumps and bruises but really no major injuries. Again, I think we are putting ourselves in position to have a physical, deceptive, quality football team.”

On if the offense was able to limit turnovers compared to the last scrimmage…
“I didn’t see a fumble. There were a couple of bad snaps, which early in spring is more of the norm than now. But we need to improve there. It was much better.”

On today’s runners (Hilliard and Magee)…
“Both Magee and Kenny Hilliard had really nice running days today. I think Magee is going to have a great fall, and I think Hilliard is going to have a great fall. It looks to me that Kenny Hilliard has lost a little bit of weight, and he’s a little bit quicker than he’s been.”

On if John Diarse would have seen significant playing time last season were it not for injury…
“I think he got hurt at the wrong time, and I think he would have been maybe third out of the top four receivers.”

On the personality of the offense this year depending on who is the quarterback…
“Well I think we’re still wanting to push the ball down the field. We had two big passes, and we probably threw for just under 300 yards today with some nice deep throws. Both quarterbacks were sharp, and the passing was very sharp today. We dropped a couple balls, and the ball was right on the money. To be honest with you, we caught a lot of balls.”

On if the playbook will change at all with having two mobile quarterbacks…
“Not noticeably. Surely there are some different things that each guy does better, but basically you will look at it and see similar to what we have run here.”

On where Hayden Rettig stands in the quarterback competition…
“Hayden throws a really nice ball. I think he is in position to contribute and compete. Where it all ends will be after spring.”

On if he would expect the defense to outperform the offense in these scrimmages…
“Yeah, I think the offense took a real nice stride today, but I would expect the defense to be a little further ahead, and they are.”

On the mindset of the offensive line with a new coach (Grimes)…
“I think it’s an offensive mindset that the offensive line takes on. I think there’s some physicality there that’s really good. I think that there appears to be a greater knowledge base than there has been in the past. I’m not talking about new coach or not, I’m talking about the guys we have. It appears to me that these guys have shared knowledge and increased abilities to think, and there’s some real advantages going on there.”

On the pass rush and pass protection…
“I think we protected pretty well today. I think there was some pass rush. What happens in matchups, if you a second string offensive lineman up there against Danielle Hunter, it’s just not fair. Chrisian LaCouture had a couple nice pressures and saw him get a sack. I think Tashawn Bower had a good day as well.”

On if the coaching staff is mentally preparing for spots the incoming recruiting class can fill…
“We have to, we absolutely have to. I think we are trying to make a determination as we design the summer plans that this is where this guy is going to be and how we are going to operate it. I think the skill players on offense are going to be musts and I think the skill players on defense with the safeties that can step right in and play. I think the recruiting class will hit us just where we need to be hit. I think some of those guys are going to be getting first snaps and will be advantages for us. I think we’ve got to use them well.”

On DJ Welter improving…
“I think DJ is better and just competing. Beckwith there now is just an excitement for that group. I think there’s an opportunity to let the competition play out there and both guys play at a very high level.”

 

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