By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor
Inclement weather forced LSU’s scrimmage indoors on Saturday, but the thunder and lightning didn’t stop once the Tigers took the turf.
Without star tailback Leonard Fournette in tow, still sidelined by an ankle sprain, LSU handed the rock to Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams.
According to stats provided by Les Miles (which ranks just beneath “tales provided by old fishermen” on the reliability scale), Guice and Williams each racked up 60 yards on a “handful” of carries in a 100-play scrimmage. Williams, who has 598 yards and 7 touchdowns in two seasons at LSU, drew praise from Miles, in particular.
“Darell had a hell of a day today,” said Miles. “We really enjoyed his performance. He has always given us enough, and yet when we’ve asked him to give more, there’s more there. He had a really nice day today.”
Also taking carries at tailback was sophomore Nick Brossette, who added another 25 yards on, again, a “handful” of carries. In all, Miles said LSU rushed for 200 yards, while throwing for another 200. He added that Brandon Harris and Danny Etling completed about 65 percent of their passes, each.
“We’re rushing the football pretty well,” he said.
LSU’s passing attack was without Travin Dural, who missed the scrimmage with a “nick in his hand.” Miles said he expects Dural back next scrimmage, but noted that the Tigers’ other receivers played well, with 10 players catching passes on the day.
“Jazz Ferguson’s been really good,” he said. “I think DJ Chark is going to be a heck of a player. Malachi (Dupre), Travin, some of these young receivers, we’re going to be pretty talented there.”
Miles also doled out praise to his tight ends, including transplanted freshman Caleb Roddy, a converted defensive end, who grabbed a 25-yard reception.
“Foster (Moreau) and (Colin) Jeter both are really good reveivers and great passing threats,” he said. “We’ll throw the football to both of those guys. Caleb Roddy did a heck of a job. Jamal Pettigrew has really had a nic camp. I think he’s really coing and is going to be a nice player. I think the tight end position will be very productive.”
Defensively, Miles lauded his team’s tackling and ability to pressure the quarterback, saying he didn’t see a lot of missed tackles. Nor did he see a lot of missed assignments from Dave Aranda’s defense, which showed multiple looks throughout the practice.
“Today we saw Bear, Over, Under,” he said, naming Aranda looks. “We saw Okie defense, we saw a safety (blitz) from the weakside and strong side, corners, and yet it seems to be easy for him to call and easy for our guys to understand it. I think it’ll be a very formidable defense.”
OFFENSIVE LINE SHAKEUP
Miles seems to have landed on his best five up front. For now, at least.
In addition to mainstays Will Clapp (left guard) and Ethan Pocic (center), Miles likes K.J. Malone at left tackle, Toby Weathersby at right tackle, and Josh Boutte at right guard, with Maea Teuhema as the first man off the bench at either tackle spot and Chidi Okeke pushing for snaps, as well.
“There’s potential to be a very physical front five,” he said.
Miles spoke well of Travonte Valentine, who continues to work at second team defensive tackle behind Greg Gilmore. Miles was particularly pleased with Valentine’s showing in the post-scrimmage sprints, as well as his quick adaptation to a new defense.
“He seems very physical, very difficult to block, not a guy that you want to have one guy blocking,” Miles said. “His experience at several spots up front has allowed him to say, ‘Oh, it’s like that.’ He’s a pretty bright guy.”
Though he sat out the scrimmage, Fournette should be back next week, Miles said, giving him plenty of time to get back in game shape for Wisconsin, just two weeks out.
“I think he plays this week,” Miles said, adding that it would ultimately be up to the trainers.
LSU will begin prep for the Badgers on Monday, just as classes start up at LSU.
“I want this next week to be, get your feet settled in class, and turn our attention to Wisconsin, and not so much LSU,” Miles said.