Miles Announces Start of 2015 Football Camp

LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU Athletics Creative Services
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications

BATON ROUGE – LSU welcomed 105 players to campus on Wednesday as the Tigers begin on-field preparations for the 2015 season on Thursday with a pair of split-squad practices at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

Wednesday was a day of orientation for LSU as the players participated in a series of organizational meetings to go along with getting fitted for equipment and getting a physical examination. The reporting day concluded with individual and team meetings.

The LSU veterans will practice on Thursday morning followed by the freshmen and select veterans in the afternoon. The team will have four days of split-squad practices before coming together as a full unit for the first time on Monday.

“This is a great time of year,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “The entire group that we invited to camp has arrived. They’ve had a great summer. Our team has really exceeded expectations over the summer. We find that our defensive line, offensive line, and different groups are doing two-a-days on their own. Our defensive backfield group has really worked nonstop since early in the summer to get better and improve.

“They’re a really special group and I think our leadership of this football team is exceptional. It may be equal to or greater than some of our best teams. I think that our leadership has taken over our culture that needs to be in force on a great team.”

Miles said that two true freshmen who weren’t with the team during the summer workouts reported to camp on Wednesday – defensive end Arden Key and offensive lineman Chidi Valentine-Okeke.

Arden Key is here,” Miles said. “He and his dad went to work over the summer and he looks to be in great shape. He is 240 pounds, which is up from 217. He is strong and fast and a guy who will play a lot of snaps as a true freshman. Chidi Valentine-Okeke is also here. He is a left tackle prospect and we are glad to welcome those two guys among the rest of the team.”

Thursday will be the first time that Miles and his staff will be able to practice LSU’s freshman class, a group that was ranked among the top five in the nation.

“I’m looking forward to this freshman class,” Miles said. “I think there are a lot of talented guys that we will evaluate and look at. We are a team that played 17 true freshmen last season and then 15 true freshmen the two seasons before that. It is a statistic that will not change. We expect that the freshman class will play a lot and we are looking forward to it.

“They are a special group of athletes and they’ve had a great summer of preparation. We are looking forward to seeing how they can be implemented in the game plan and how they can be used to benefit our team.”

LSU also welcomes three new coaches to the staff this year as defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and wide receivers coach Tony Ball enter their first season with the Tigers.

Miles said that Tigers will use the first four days of split-squad practices to teach as much as possible, while also limiting contact.

“The first thing we are going to do is look at the things we have to teach with space,” Miles said. “We won’t have shoulder pads on and we will only have shorts and shirts. Without pads I want to keep them as far from each other as I can. There will be a lot of special teams and our two-minute attack. We’ll teach the basics of our offense, defense and special teams but we don’t want collision. We’ll do that for a couple of days until we put shoulder pads on.”

As part of the first-day tradition of fall camp is the issuing of the No. 18 jersey at the team meeting to conclude the day. The No. 18 jersey is awarded annually to the player who best represents both on and off the field what it means to play for LSU.

“It’s first and foremost a team guy who is not necessarily the most talented guy or the most gifted athlete,” Miles said of the person who gets to wear No. 18. “It’s a guy that relates to the team and has been a leader. He might not be the most decorated guy. He is someone the training staff, equipment staff, and weight staff could say that he is a tremendous person for the program. We made a decision and we feel pretty good about it.”

LSU will announce the recipient of No. 18 tonight following the announcement to the team.

 

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