Miles Reviews Scrimmage at Football Media Day
LSU Sports Interactive
BATON ROUGE – Les Miles spent a portion of his time at LSU Football Media Day on Sunday discussing the Tigers’ first major scrimmage of the preseason, which took place on Saturday evening in Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers scrimmaged under the lights in Tiger Stadium on Saturday in what was about a 100-play workout that focused mainly on the first and second offenses and defenses. The scrimmage was situational for the most part and also featured the two-minute drill to conclude the workout.
Saturday’s scrimmage was the first of what will be three for the Tigers heading into the season-opener against McNeese State on Sept. 5 in Tiger Stadium.
“After the first major scrimmage and now 12 practices in, I like where we are,” Miles said. “There’s competition at a number of places. This is a hard-working group that is physical and a group that likes to compete.
“I felt like there were some real bright spots on both sides of the ball.”
“The quarterbacks came out of green (non-contact jersey) when they operated with the first team offense versus the first team defense,” Miles said of Harris and Jennings, who were both live at times during the scrimmage. “They both performed well; they scrambled out of the backfield, made big plays, made some plays with their arm.
“(We) really had only one turnover, and it was and it was just a two minute play that stopped the drive.”
Miles said that Harris and Jennings combined to complete 20 of 34 passes, however there were five drops by the Tigers. Miles said LSU rushed the ball 42 times for 193 yards.
The offense operated on the short-side of the field focusing on redzone and tight-zone situations for most of the scrimmage, according to Miles.
“We scored five touchdowns (on eight possessions) and when you're really down in there, I think that’s a pretty strong showing for the defense overall,” Miles said.
Miles complimented the play of the running backs, saying, “that backfield is going to be a quality group. I think the youth on our team is very talented there.”
Defensively, Miles said that junior middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith led the team in tackles.
“Beckwith was the leading tackler and he’s a fast and physical mike linebacker,” Miles said. “He showed big last night. The defense as a whole played very well. There were a couple guys that missed some tackles. Again, I think that that was having to do with the fact that our backfield set is so talented.
“If I had to eliminate some things from practice, from our team's characteristic, in a first scrimmage, it would be pre snap penalties. I don't think we got lined up right. We had some young wide receivers that cost us five yards. And those things happen too regularly. Occasionally, you have to hone in those players into doing what the play is called to do. I think we find at times that that's not how it was designed, and we have to get them on the same page.”
After taking Sunday off from practice to participate in Media Day and Fan Day, the Tigers return to the practice field on Monday with a pair of workouts. LSU is scheduled to practice in full pads during the morning session followed by a shells (helmets and shoulder pads) workout in the afternoon.
August 16, 2015
An Interview With:
COACH LES MILES
COACH MILES: Thank you very much. My goodness. I guess I'm expected to give a quality overview. We're into camp, and many times you get the view of what needs to be done, but I'll step back away for a second and kind of go through how I see it.
I like this team's attitude. They're in shape. They're competitive. It's been there's leadership on the field. Our culture's intact. They work hard. They compete against each other. They're physical.
There's different focus. There's competition at a number of places. And I can just tell you that, after the first major scrimmage and 12 practices in, I like where we're at. We went into Tiger stadium in the evening. It was a beautiful night, about 80 degrees. We had an afternoon shower. And our football team enjoyed it very much.
Again, the 12th practice, red zone, tight zone, a very physical scrimmage. Scored five touchdowns, and when you're really down in there, that's considering eight possessions and two other possessions with guys that that's really a pretty strong showing for the defense overall.
I felt like there was some real bright spots. I think the backs, that backfield is going to be a quality backfield. I think the youth on our team is very talented there.
Offensive line, we're augmenting the veterans with some of these freshmen, and there's some very talented guys there. We think that that offensive line will play even better. Our linebacking corps, Beckwith was the leading tackler and is a fast, physical mike backer. Showed big last night. The defensive line and offensive line squared off, and it was very competitive.
Quarterbacks came out of green when they operated with the first team versus the first team defense. Both guys performed well, scrambled out of the backfield, made big plays, made some plays with their arm. Really had one turnover, and it was a almost a forward it was just a two minute play that stopped the drive. But the defense played very well. There were a couple guys that missed some tackles. Again, I think that that was having to do with the fact that our backfield set is so talented. If I had to eliminate some things from practice, from our team's characteristic, in a first scrimmage, it would be pre snap penalties. I don't think we got lined up right. We had some young wide receivers that cost us five yards. And those things happen too regularly. Occasionally, you have to hone in those players into doing what the play is called to do. I think we find at times that that's not how it was designed, and we have to get them on the same page. The things that we need to be, consistent with both run and pass in our execution. Ball security was very good for the offense. Defense got one, but I saw several strips, and we are a physical football team. I suspect that that will stay that way.
Q. Scheme wise and personnel wise, why should this defense be better than last year? What do you see that makes this defense better than last year?
COACH MILES: I think our linebacking corps is more comfortable and more understanding of calls and more technical. I think it allows them to play even faster. I mean, they had great speed and ability to get to the ball, but now when they're comfortable in the call and understand what their responsibility is, you find that they're showing up sideline to sideline. I think that that's one of the reason the defense is playing better. The interior guys are tough to block, LaCouture and Godchaux are horses. So we're not getting up on the linebackers very easily. So they're getting to plays.
Q. You mentioned your quarterbacks came out of the green for scrimmage yesterday. Is it more important this year that they're kind of ready to take that running load on than maybe last year?
COACH MILES: Well, here's the it was more for the passing game than it was for anything. You wanted them to understand that you just couldn't sit back in that pocket and throw the ball. So they felt what was actual pressure, and they made adjustments in the pocket, which I enjoyed and we needed to see. Then they scrambled out and went and made some big plays, both Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings both.
Q. How were the first string snaps split between the quarterbacks? Did somebody take the majority of them?
COACH MILES: Well, Brandon Harris had the advantage there in number of snaps, by half a dozen or so. Statistically, we were 20 for 34 with five drops. So 25 for 34 would have been certainly a lot better, but five drops, I think our guys will catch the ball better beyond our first scrimmage. We rushed the ball 42 times for 193. So we're basically 200 yards apiece, both run and pass. That kind of balance is really what we were kind of looking for.
Q. Are your quarterbacks that different in that you can maybe utilize a different offensive game plan for each of them? Or do you think they're kind of to the point now where they're very similar in what they can do?
COACH MILES: I think there's more similarities than there are differences. I would not hesitate to make a call if it there was a real advantage to one over the other in a situation. Again, I think they're both competing towards that for that first game. Again, I think they're very similar.
I think Brandon is obviously a little bit more explosive, but Anthony is a little bit more veteran.
Q. Each of the last three years, your sack totals have decreased. How much of an emphasis has pressure been in this camp? And is there a reason that you see to believe that that number's going to come back up?
COACH MILES: First of all, I think the awareness of our defense of that specific is very acute. I think our guys want in that backfield. I think there's an immediate pass rush that's taking place. I think it was addressed certainly early in practices, and it continues to be a point of focus and emphasis. I think they'll be in that backfield a little bit more regularly, and I think they have several ways to do that.
Q. Back to the quarterbacks, have you guys been able to identify who would be considered a No. 3 guy?
COACH MILES: Justin McMillan has really had a nice camp to this point. He was 2 for 3, and I think threw a 50 yard touchdown. He's in no way out of consideration. He's participating. We're just not giving him the equal snaps, and he's got a nice arm and making plays.
Q. Can you tell us how it's gone so far with both Coach Steele and Coach O and what these guys have brought to this defense?
COACH MILES: I think Kevin Steele has done a great job in orchestrating the step by step approach to bringing the defense together, and I think that we're really in good shape at this point. I think he has a pretty clear plan for implementing for the first game and thereafter.
And, of course, Ed is full bore. He's got great enthusiasm. I think it rubs off on his players, and his players are playing at a high level.
Q. Over the summer, Cam said that maybe he wasn't as relatable with the quarterbacks as he maybe could have been as far as teaching. He came in more at a pro level than a college level. Have you seen him alter that, or has just another year under the quarterbacks' belt helped them understand better what you all want to do?
COACH MILES: I think the NCAA rules prohibit too much aggressive coaching, if any at all, in the summertime. So it's hard to have hands on a guy in a drill you're not watching. Basically, a meeting that would occur that was orchestrated by the player. Again, I see his frustration. I'm sure that most of our coaches have that. But I think there's more again, we're going to stay with the things that we've brought into the game plan. These quarterbacks now are starting to feel real comfortable with it, and they understand reads and where they're going to go with the ball, and their mechanics are better. So I think that we're seeing just some real quality improvement.
Q. Les, did any projected starter not scrimmage yesterday?
COACH MILES: Yes, absolutely. Travin Dural did not scrimmage. He's got a nick that we don't think will be serious in any way. And Trey Quinn, who was off to a nice start, got nicked, and we took him out. Again, it's not these are not serious, long term injuries, but required the opportunity to stop them from playing. So I wouldn't be surprised if both played on Monday, but if they didn't, Tuesday would probably be the last time I guess we wouldn't hold them out any further than that.
Q. In reviewing the everybody talks about improved play at quarterback, but in reviewing the passing game from last year, what did you all find? As much as improved play from quarterback, how much different will what you all do offensively look than it did last year?
COACH MILES: I think there will be some differences if you sit there and watch it. I think you'll be able to see different scheme and different attack. But I think you'll see some similarities too. We don't want to lose the things that we do well.
Q. Looking back, Brandon Harris started Auburn. How much of a different player is he today? What do you think he learned by that? Do you think it humbled him? What are your thoughts from that day till now?
COACH MILES: I think it's night and day, to be honest with you. His experience, the things he's done thereafter, played a little bit in the Alabama game, came in and understands much more of what's required of a quarterback than he possibly could have known going into the Auburn game.
There's no similarity with how he'll play as a quarterback and how he played against Auburn.
Q. How has Dwyane Thomas handled his discipline, his disciplinary measures?
COACH MILES: Dwyane Thomas has come humbly to the team and has always given great effort and energy. He is back in place in position to play, and we're excited about it.
Q. In your time at LSU, you never had a back who averaged more than 20 carries per game. Would you like to see Leonard Fournette ideally be that kind of back? If he was, would that mean you need to scale him back as a kickoff returner?
COACH MILES: If that was the case, then we might think about scaling somebody back. The thing that we've always tried to do is have our backs be fresh, guys that could give their greatest effort on every play that they're in. There's reason to say that Leonard could be that 20 carry back, but I think there's a point in time too where you don't want to wear him out, and you do not want an injury. You don't want to keep pressing the line of scrimmage when he's tired. So we're very fortunate to have guys that can step in and play and play very big roles behind him.
Q. How comfortable do you feel that you found and identified your starting five on the offensive line?
COACH MILES: I want you to know I think that there's still some progress being made there with that. I'm looking at a couple young offensive linemen that are standing in the backdrop that don't necessarily know what to do, but when they do, they're pretty talented. So we're going to continue. We have a number of guys there that will vie for that who are the best five, and we're excited about it.
Q. And one more. With Tashawn Bower back at defensive end, how does that change what Arden Key and Isaiah Washington have been doing, and how much are they factoring in at practice?
COACH MILES: I think those guys will always factor in because of their ability. They're very quick twitch, very fast guys, good length, long arms, good pass rushers. I think both of those guys will stay in a close to the field position that allows us to get them in games.
Q. Because Trey and Travin were nicked, did it give you opportunity to see some stuff from guys like Tyron Johnson and D.J. Chark, and what did you think of their performance in scrimmage?
COACH MILES: Both of those guys played in scrimmage, Chark more, obviously, and then Tyron. So many times a freshman in a system can become overloaded. I'm not really ready to say that those guys are in position to now, D.J. knows exactly what's going on and is having a nice camp. Tyron is a freshman. Sometimes it takes some time for a freshman to understand exactly what he's doing. So first scrimmage, I think he did very well.
Q. With all the defensive coaching shuffles, Will going to Auburn, you getting Kevin, and John going, does it make it easier or harder to coach and maybe disguise what you want to do?
COACH MILES: I think any time you move quality coordinators in the conference, you know somewhat what to expect, but, again, you'll also expect that they'll be very quality defenses and guys that can coach and understand when the offense has an advantage and how to align properly. It just says get ready to play a very, very quality defense, and when you line up against those guys, that's what you're going to see.
Q. Coach, your media guide talks about fullbacks still being a prominent position. How much do you see this offense using a fullback, and what other combinations of backs do you think we could see in there, like with William?
COACH MILES: I think there's a likelihood that there will be a two tailback set, an opportunity to get not only Leonard, but some other guys in the game in the backfield.
And I think there's at fullback, J.D. Moore is a great receiver and a great blocker and a guy that really we can use. I think behind that, David Ducre and Bry'Kiethon Mouton are both big, strong, physical guys, and when you want to go downhill at the line of scrimmage, it's nice to have a lead back that can step in there and get you some room.
Q. Your 11th season, Coach. Do you feel like are you always trying to mold a team to fit your style? Does every team kind of take on its own identity and you allow that to take shape through the fall camp?
COACH MILES: I think what you do is you look at the talent that you have and you want to really make that talent productive for you. So by formation, by play call, you want to do those things that your players can do first and foremost. And then what are the things that augment those things?
What is the if there's five base plays or five base play actions, what are the and you operate that way. And then you say, what is your best personnel group? What is? And what are you going to do in that personnel group? Is it a throw first? Is it a run first? Where's your priority? Five wide receivers? I think frankly we'd like to look at a five wide receiver set because I think we have some talented guys. Get them all on the field at the same time healthy and in position, it's something that we're looking to.
Q. And to that end, you ran the ball 69 percent of the time last year, the most in your tenure. Does that feel like too much? Would you run it more if you could win the ball game?
COACH MILES: If the situation in the game called for a strong running attack, it will benefit us. If we have to win the game in two minute, that will benefit us. The key piece is to make sure that your team has a variety of skills and abilities that you finish with and you win the game.
Thank you very much.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
LSU Media Day Quotes
August 16, 2015
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele
On how the depth along the defensive line is looking …
“Defensive line depth is always a concern when you're a defensive coach. It's been every place whether you have eight or nine (players). Arden (Key) and Isaiah (Washington) have come in as rookies and really added to it. They've shown really good adaptability to college football. We knew they had the ability, but they played with really good strength, and they played with really good technique. They have picked up the scheme, and they're making progress. Quentin Thomas is healthy now. (Greg) Gilmore has really grown from the first part of spring until now. He's really blossomed, so that's added some things for us.”
On if the defense is comparable to what a good defense in the SEC is …
“This is a fun group to coach. They are very athletic; they're very tuned in to football IQ in terms of knowledge of the game, and they want more of that. The big thing they do is they play with such a competitive spirit, and with that competitive spirit we have to emphasize effort, tackling and turnovers because at the end of the day that's what's going to get it done.”
On what stands out about the linebacking corps …
“First of all, they're fast. There are three guys there that can run as fast as any three I've ever been around in terms of sheer speed. They're physical, and they come to work every day. They're not up and down, and if you correct them they take care of it right then because they are mature. They've been around, and they've been well coached. In terms of the linebacking group, probably the thing that has been the most encouraging has been (the emergence of) Duke Riley and Donnie Alexander. They have not been in the same sentence with those other three guys. When you start talking about playing guys, it comes down to trust. Do you trust the job to get done when you put somebody out there? You could put those two out there tomorrow and trust them. They've progressed that much.”
On increasing the number of turnovers this year compared to last year…
“You increase turnovers by getting them and just being ball hawks. It's a mentality; we emphasize effort, tackling and turnovers. If you do those three things, you're going have a chance. We emphasize it every day. We start the meeting with it every day. We have a video with the turnovers from the day before. We're teaching a turnover circuit every day in practice that teaches different elements of turnovers, and it's just a mindset.”
On the possibility of Duke Riley taking on a bigger role on defense …
“First of all, he is very, very football smart. He is a natural quarterback on the field. You give him something, and he'll get everybody lined up. He sees things; it's just easy to him in that regard, so he plays comfortably. He gets himself lined up right, and he knows what is coming. That comes to him naturally, but he's really fast and he's got a high motor, and he is tough. He's a really tough guy. You put that together, and you got a pretty good package.”
On how he can compare the overall talent on this defense to other places he has coached …
“This is a very fast group of guys. They're extremely competitive. You just got to open the door of the cage, and they'll go hunt. You don't have to get them riled up or tell them a story. All you have to do is snap it, and they'll go play. They are extremely competitive in everything they do, and they play with great effort, and they are physical. When you have that to start with, it gives you a chance.”
On how much enjoyment he gets from coming back to the defensive coordinator position after serving as a positions coach the past few years …
“It's really not that different in football anymore. It's one room with everyone working together. There's so much to do now, and someone has to say we're going to do this and get together at 7:30 in the morning, but you have to give things to other people. We have a very capable staff with Ed (Orgeron), Bradley Dale (Peveto) and Corey (Raymond). We've got good young guys, so (the title of defensive coordinator) is really kind of overrated. At the end of the day, whatever happens, you have to stand up and take the bullet, and that's OK too. Other than that, coaching is coaching.”
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
On Saturday's scrimmage …
“There's so much riding on every game, and the way college football is set up, as we all know, the playoffs start week one. Nobody is going 9-3 and getting into the playoffs. Every game counts. I think that puts a lot on young quarterbacks, but I think our guys are more ready to handle it this year than in the past. Based on last night, I was most pleased with how comfortable they were and their body language. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but for a first scrimmage, it rivaled the first scrimmage we had two years ago. That one was a pretty special one in most people's minds. I thought last night was a huge plus.”
On Brandon Harris' maturation throughout camp …
“I think a lot of lights went on in the spring. When you can sit back and reflect on any season, especially a season that has some ups and downs, if you're the right kind of kid and the right kind of person, you're going to reflect, take it personally to a degree and you're going to let that help you grow. I think both of those guys shouldered everything that took place. That's part of every quarterback's maturation—the good ones at least. I think some lights started to come on last spring. Again, last night was a great indication of where we are headed, but it's still a work in progress.”
On being comfortable calling certain plays …
“Practice tells you that. It's easier now to go to a young guy and say ‘Of these 15 things, give me the five you like the most, give me the next five and then, we can do without the other five.' Of 15 things, you're not going to need all 15. When they are first coming in to any system, there are things they just have to learn. There's no way around it. You have to give some things a chance. You may take some lumps in practice, learning a scheme that ultimately leads to something helping us in a game. Now, it's asking them, getting more feedback from them and trying to help them get into the right play against the right coverage and the right front. Then, it's getting the ball distributed throughout the offense. I think that's the thing you'll see more than anything this year. You're going to see our quarterbacks with the ability to spread the ball to backs, tight ends, receivers and not so much driven in one direction in any particular game.”
On the glimpses of the offense from Saturday night's scrimmage …
“Pleased. Not satisfied. Pleased. These guys are maturing probably more normally than would matter to a lot of people. Reality is, the opening game is coming, and they all count. Our sense of urgency is beyond whether the guy is a sophomore, a junior or Justin McMillan, a freshman. Our urgency here is completely different than in a lot of places. What we are playing for, we have to be hitting on all cylinders in week one and carry that in to week two, no matter who the quarterback is. Pleased. Not satisfied. They aren't satisfied. I was just in a quarterback meeting, and you could see the look in their eyes. They were excited about the things they did and excited about the things they can improve on because we could have easily had one of the better first scrimmages, at least since I've been here, with another six or eight plays made.”
On carrying the use of tight ends toward the end of last season into 2015 …
“I think DeSean Smith was a big part of that. He had gotten banged up early in the season as young players tend to. He came back, stayed healthy and then, got banged up in the first play of the game. Colin Jeter made progress. Dillon (Gordon) brings a unique role for us as a true point anchor blocker, which those guys are like a lost art today. We feel like we have that guy and some guys who can do both. Jacory Washington got banged up in the spring, but he's come to life. He caught a touchdown last night. He ran right out of the stadium, and nobody caught him. This is going to be a really good year for our tight ends. In a lot of cases, people will tell you other than a running game, a good tight end is any quarterback's best friend.”
On making in-game adjustments and using teaching moments to progress …
“I think when they are young, they're critical. I think you have to be careful. There are a couple of things; number one you have to be careful. You have to be careful about planting. You're trying to teach a lesson but you plant too many seeds in a guy's head, and now he starts chasing ghosts. I tell the QBs I'm the ghost chaser. I'm the guy who plays the scenario game. You cover one thing with a young player, and then they fixate on it. Now, they become blind to other things. You have to be smart. With veteran quarterbacks, I got this from Peyton Manning, I said, ‘Give me your take on information in between series.' For him, what worked for him is less is best. Why? Because he is so prepared, and sometimes quarterbacks that are really prepared, all you have to do is say one thing and ‘I got you, Coach.' It triggers the brain and the thought process, so less is best.
“For young guys you have to know right when you look in their eye and you can tell they aren't absorbing any more of what you are saying. You have to be able to get to the point quickly and get it solved because here's what happens: a guy comes to the sideline and you think you have this timeline to get the problem solved. The defense gets a turnover, you haven't solved the problem or communicated with the QB, and it can get you again. Those moments are critical. It's how you go about them that I think is the most important thing. Every QB is a little bit different. An example, Zach (Mettenberger) and me: Zach walked up, Zach looked at me and he goes, ‘Hey, I got you.' Philip Rivers would also say, ‘OK, I got you.' OK, we are good. Then I'd give them a little jab or something. Some of them, you can tell when they come off the field, they don't know what just happened to them, which is not that uncommon, so I say, ‘Hey, come here. Take a deep breath. You good?' ‘Yeah, I'm good, Coach.' You watch their eyes clear. Then you have to have an art. Les has really helped me several times. He goes, ‘Cam, he's got a good look in his eye.' Les will tell me so I know right now the guy has a clear picture, so I get him on a headset. I say, ‘Give me a little heads up on what happened.' He says, ‘Hey, that's my fault. It was this, this or this.' Or, Les will say, ‘you might want to check with him on that one, he has a bad look on his face.' I'll come over, and I'll ask him ‘What did you see there?' He will say, ‘Coach I…” I'll say, ‘Easy there, now, tell me what you saw, OK? That's what you saw, but here's what happened.' I'll have Jeff Grimes draw something up for me real quick. There's no manual to the deal. These are living, breathing human beings. Every situation to a lot of those guys is new, so you have to draw on their experience. Based on their level of experience and their maturity level, they're all different.”
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
On if new defensive backs are held to a certain standard at LSU …
“We do because that's what they did for us. They did that to me. They did that to Jalen Mills. They did that to everybody, so everybody that comes to DBU is going to be held to a higher standard.”
On the energy of the defensive backfield …
“You're definitely going to see a lot of energy. I see a lot of swagger out there. We're definitely going to be flying around the ball. We are just playing as a whole and holding each other accountable. Our standard is high. We have to feed off of the past. From Corey Webster to Patrick Peterson to Tyrann (Mathieu), all of those guys. Our standard is very high, so each and every day we have to come out and work hard."
On comparing this year's defensive backfield to 2011 …
“Well we are definitely trying to get near it. Our goal is to be better. We don't want to just be the 2011 team. We want to be better than the 2011 team. The swagger is always going to stay up there. I think going into this year, we're very confident. We're just staying humble and just going to keep working hard.”
On who was a big influence on his life …
“My parents. I had a brother. He was older than me. He had a 4-year scholarship to Arkansas Tech. He didn't make the score on his ACT, so he had to go to junior college. He went out there and got into some trouble. Some things just went wrong, and he wasn't able to continue. They kicked him off, and he came home. That just motivated me. I wanted to be the first grandchild that my grandmother had to graduate from college. It's a big deal. I'm the first one to go, and I really want to finish up.”
On being valedictorian in high school …
“It was a big deal because everybody was used to a girl receiving it, so it was a big deal at my school. It was the first time a guy at my school received it in years. It was also a big deal at my school because I played football, basketball and all the sports.”
On the mindset of this team going into the season …
“Well, we had an 8-5 record last season. That alone gives us something to work toward and build off of. We have to do a better job as a team of playing LSU's style on offense and defense.”
On the transition from John Chavis to Kevin Steele …
“You almost can't tell them apart. Coach Steele has come in, and he's done a great job. It's been the easiest coaching change that any of us have ever seen. It's been real good working with them.”
On the quarterbacks' progress …
“I just see two guys that have improved. I see two guys that come out and work extra hard. I think people will really see that this year.”
On improving the pass rush…
“We've done a tremendous job in the spring working on pass rush. We are getting better at that in the fall. I think this season is going to be a real big season for LSU pass rush.”
On trying to be a physical team…
“I think it's even better than last season. We had a great spring. All of our defensive linemen had a great spring, and we are bringing that into the fall.”
On Tre'Davious White being selected for the No. 18 jersey …
“It's very special for him. Tre'Davious White is a guy who is going to come in each and every day and is going to work, work, work, and then he's going to work extra. That's what makes him so special. That's why he deserves the number 18. He's going to be the guy who does the right thing, the guy who's not going to get in trouble. I think he deserves it.”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
On the overall preparation …
“We've definitely improved. We came in with a mindset that we wanted to get better and have a dominant offense with our running game to passing the ball as well. The guys have really gone in and the receivers fought hard this summer. I was tough on them by getting them up to catch passes with me every chance I got. All in all we had a great summer and a great fall camp.”
On being a leader …
“We just know everybody around here has the same goal, and we know in order for us to get there we've all got to get to common ground and they responded very well.”
On adjustments he has made in his second season …
“I think not trying to look for a long shot down the field every play, taking the ball down with Leonard (Fournette), Derrius (Guice), Lanard (Fournette) and others and giving them the opportunity to catch it and run. I kind of figured it out last night (at the scrimmage) that if you kick it down to them they can carry it a long distance.”
On what he has done to improve in the offseason …
“I put in a lot of work with George (Whitfield) over the summer. I've been working on my footwork and continuing to improve on my accuracy, not gunning the ball to the guys. They come to the ball, so they can just catch the ball and run underneath and do different things like that. In reality that's what it's all about. I can throw the ball hard every game, but if you give them a nice comfortable ball and let them run with it and just give it accurately they can run with it.”
On the quarterback competition …
“I think competition always makes the best of everyone. Obviously, Brandon (Harris) is a great quarterback, and he's been improving steadily throughout fall camp and throughout the summer. He's smarter now than he's ever been, and I'm continuing to help him and we are working together to help the team win.”
On Brandon Harris' improvement …
“I think he's throwing the ball with more touch. He's getting the drops and getting the reads correctly and on a more consistent basis. Everyone knows he has the talent, so I think he's coming in with a different mindset and I think he's been playing very well throughout fall camp.”
On waiting to know the starter …
“I think everybody when they come here they want to start, but anybody Coach Miles deems as a starter is okay with me because I know that we have both put in the time and the effort and we are going to support each other either way it goes.”
RB Leonard Fournette
On the difference in camp this year …
“Right now me and Darrel (Williams) and John David Moore are working on the young guys, trying to get them prepared for game situations. I see a lot of progress that's been going on at camp as far as us and the young guys.”
On sophomore Leonard vs. freshman Leonard …
“I would say freshman year I was kind of immature and kind of just getting by without understanding the game. Sophomore Leonard, I understand the game more. I let things come to me; I'm more patient on my cuts, and I'm not taking angles out of proportion.”
On personal goals …
“Overall, I want to win the National Championship. To win the Heisman would be great, but it's more about the team right now, just getting them better and preparing ourselves for this game coming September 5th.”
On Saturday's scrimmage …
“I can say that all of the running backs and everyone did well blocking, running and just doing the little things that we have to do.”
On coming back to LSU …
“I didn't think about it until after the season was over, but it was really a situation where I couldn't find a reason not to come back to a great program like LSU. We have a championship mentality, great guys and great coaches. I wanted to win a championship, and I really wanted to have another year with my guys and also I obviously wanted to improve on my fundamentals and improve on my technique to help improve my future endeavors in the league and stuff like that. It's really a situation where I didn't even think twice, and I'm really, really happy about it.”
On what he has worked on …
“A little bit of everything. I want to be a dominant player, and the big thing about coming back is you want to dominate everything you do in the run game, in the pass game, footwork, technique, hand placement, things like that.”
On La'el Collins' influence …
“He was one of the most talented guys I've been around. I played right next to him for two years. It's definitely a positive seeing him having such success in his senior season, and hopefully I can have the same as well.”