BATON ROUGE - Les Miles welcomed 104 players to campus on Wednesday as the LSU football team reported for the start of preseason workouts.
After a day of orientation, physicals, meetings, and fitting for equipment, LSU will practice for the first time on Thursday morning when the veterans take the field for a shorts and helmets workout. The freshmen class, along with a selected number of veterans, will practice on Thursday afternoon.
LSU opens its sixth season under Miles on Sept. 4 when the Tigers travel to Atlanta to face North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome.
"The summer is over; it's time for ball," Miles told members of the media on Wednesday shortly after the final player checked in. "This is a great time of year. We look to develop a championship team and we look to develop the individuals who make up this team.
"The guys that we expected to arrive have arrived and it looks to be a very talented group. I look forward to this team. They have a great attitude and they are good people. This is going to be a fun group to coach."
Miles said the only player who did not report on Wednesday is freshman kicker Brad Wing, who had to return to his hometown of Melbourne, Australia to clear up a visa issue. Miles said that he expects Wing to be on campus on Sunday.
Miles said the Tigers had a productive summer as proven by the results of the teams' conditioning test two weeks ago.
"Their conditioning is really good," Miles said of the Tigers. "I want to say that there were three to five guys that didn't pass the conditioning test. Three of those guys were freshmen. The veteran big men, the guys who have the most difficult time with it, all of them with the exception of one guy, made it. It's really as good as I've been around."
With temperatures soaring to records highs in south Louisiana all week, Miles said he's consulted with trainer Jack Marucci and his staff on how to best manage the heat during camp.
"We've reviewed everything and one of the things that we've tried to do is moderate the length of practices," Miles said. "The thing you want to do is work hard and develop the team. You want to have physical contact and tackling and you want for your team to have the ability to do the hard things routinely. The best way to do that is to keep them freshest and tax them when they're freshest."
Miles said that one way to do that is to go fewer days and practices between scrimmages. In the past, LSU had gone as many as eight practices before a scrimmage. This year, Miles and his staff reduced that number to six, thus giving the players a better chance at having fresh legs for a particular scrimmage.
"I think we'll spend more practice time inside," Miles said. "That does not mean that this isn't going to be a very physical or demanding schedule. It is. It's just going to be hopefully a little smarter."