August 13, 2014
After Tuesday’s two-a-day practice sessions, the Tigers scrimmaged on Wednesday morning for the first time this fall. The players will have a light day on Thursday before another scrimmage in Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
Head coach Les Miles met with the media on Wednesday afternoon, and like he has done all August, he praised many of the freshmen, namely the incoming group of wide receivers.
“This freshman class, by and large, will not be redshirted at receiver,” Miles said. “I think you will find that the freshmen, at the receiver spot, will play.”
One freshman receiver that sticks out is Trey Quinn from Barbe High School in Lake Charles. Quinn broke multiple national records during his senior year, including the record for most receiving yards in the country. And Miles made it no secret on Wednesday, but Quinn is expected to get some playing time for the Tigers.
“If you look at it, we've played 29 freshmen in the last two years, and this is a class that a number of freshmen will predict to play,” Miles said.
“It's going to be fun. I can tell you one thing. Trey Quinn is a guy that learns quickly. He's very talented. I expect him to be one of those freshmen.”
Quinn has also stood out to his teammates, including sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings, who thinks the young wide receivers will make an impact this season.
“They are doing great,” Jennings said. “Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre are really standing out to me. Those guys are going to be great players for our future.”
Beyond the wide receivers, one of the biggest names on this LSU roster is freshman running back Leonard Fournette, who was the top-ranked player in the country coming out of high school.
“I think he will make a tremendous impact for the team,” Miles said. “With his skills and the things he can do for this offense, I think he will have a great year.
“He has quickness and versatility. It is unreal how he has come in and picked up on things so quickly. It is a big plus for him and for our team.”
I caught up with Fournette during Media Day, and he talked about adjusting to college football, the speed of the game and how he handles all of the hype and expectations that surround him.
Like I’ve said all fall camp, I’m very impressed with how the guys handle themselves with the media, especially this freshman class. We have a lot of good representatives for our team this year, and they are a very team-oriented group, which is always good to have.
Personally, I’m very excited to see this freshman class in Tiger Stadium on Saturdays.
August 11, 2014
It was another busy weekend for the LSU football team! After their first two-a-day practice of fall camp on Saturday, the coaches and staff prepped for LSU's annual Media Day and Fan Day on Sunday afternoon.
You can get a complete rundown of Media Day here. There are interviews with head coach Les Miles, both offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and defensive coordinator John Chavis and many different players.
Wilson and the LSU staff put together not only one of the best recruiting classes in the country this year but arguably one of the best LSU has seen. When I caught up with Coach Wilson at Media Day I was curious to see how this highly rated class looks once the pads are on and everyone is out there together.
“It's been awesome,” Wilson said. “Having the split practices has its rewards as our young gets begin to develop and our veteran kids continue to work and fine tune their efforts.
“Then to come all together and form a chemistry and have a complete unit is something you always look forward to. As coach Miles would say, 'I like where we are right now.' We are making progress and getting better every day.”
It is one thing to recruit and sign quality players and it's another to see what they produce on the field once they get to college. No one knows this better than Wilson, but he thinks this class is already on the right path.
“They're humble,” Wilson said. “They're hardworking and they're goal-oriented and they came here with the anticipation to win a lot of football games and I think if we keep them all healthy collectively we can get that done.”
While winning multiple games and championships is on everyone's mind all the time, it is not the only focus of this staff. It is well known that head coach Les Miles preaches his “Full Measure of Success” as “graduating and winning championships” and that is something Wilson also concentrates on each year.
“We like to call it 'delivering on a promise',” Wilson said. “We sit in those homes and we tell the parents your child will have an opportunity to earn his degree, an opportunity, if God says the same, to play in the National Football League, and we are going to compete for National Championships.”
With fullback Connor Neighbors already with his degree, Wilson has two more backs, Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, on pace to graduate. He says these three young men capture what it means to be a student-athlete here at LSU.
“When we can do those things, we can call it delivering on a promise, so it' certainly gratifying and rewarding to see them have that opportunity to earn their degree and see where their future takes them from that point,” Wilson said.
The Tigers have one week of fall camp down and less than three weeks before their opening game against Wisconsin in Houston's NRG Stadium. With quite a bit of youth and a new team taking the field this season, Wilson knows these next couple of weeks of camp will be vital to getting down the basics.
“Mastering the playbook,” Wilson said. “In a couple weeks here we will hone in specifically on Wisconsin and game planning for them. We have 20 plus days here and a very quality opponent and go out and play our best.”
August 8, 2014
After split practices over the first four days, Friday was the first day the entire LSU football team practiced together this fall. The pads were on and head coach Les Miles, once again, ran the “Big Cat” drill to open the individual periods, followed by a few physical goal-line one-on-one battles.
Watch full video of the Tigers first day in pads.
After the lone practice of the day, I caught up with Miles as he was coming off the field to see how he thought the first day as a team went. Miles talked about what he saw from both Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris at the quarterback position, how the young guys are fitting in with the veterans and more.
Also, 17 student-athletes graduated on Friday, including six football players. Current players Elliott Porter, Connor Neighbors and Justin Maclin joined former Tigers Richard Murphy, Karnell Hatcher and Rob Bolden as some of the newest LSU alumni. Congrats to all of the Tigers who graduated today!
The team heads back out on the practice field Saturday morning for their first two-a-day practices of the fall.
August 7, 2014
Thursday is the last day of split practices, with the full team heading out together for the first time during fall camp on Friday morning. The main attraction to Thursday’s practice was head coach Les Miles’ “Big Cat” drill. This is always a player-favorite drill since it’s inception; a matchup between offense and defense that brings plenty of competition. This is one of my favorite things to watch, and it was nice to see a few freshmen in the mix this morning.
Watch full video of Thursday morning’s drill.
After practice, I caught up with junior defensive end Danielle Hunter. Hunter won a starting role during the Auburn game last year and held on to the spot for the final 10 games of the season. No matter, Hunter said nobody’s starting spot on the line is secure, and defensive line coach Brick Haley lets the unit know it boils down to competition each and every practice.
Watch my interview with Hunter below, where he tells me his goals for the season, what role he thinks the freshmen will play and how Haley gets them motivated for the season.
Don’t forget that LSU Fan Day is Sunday, August 10 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Center. Coach Miles and the football team will arrive at 5 p.m.