Attention turns to season opener
BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU held its last, and perhaps longest, scrimmage of the preseason on Tuesday as head coach Les Miles put the Tigers through 150-play workout covering all aspects of the game here in Tiger Stadium.
The “thud” scrimmage (no tackling to the ground) was used to simulate as many “game-like” conditions as possible and featured the 1s facing the 2s in most instances. LSU also spent time on all phases of special teams, including field goals, kickoff and kickoff return, and punt and punt return.
“We had a very, very long go,” Miles said of the scrimmage. “It was a good last one. We took all situations and we challenged our special teams. We went through offense and defense and really had a nice go. The order of the day was to challenge the quarterback (Zach Mettenberger) to handle a bunch of things and he did. I thought the defense played well and I thought our punters and kickers did a nice job.”
Mettenberger had his best outing of camp, completing 26-of-36 passes for 336 yards and several scores, while backup Stephen Rivers directed the No. 2 offense and connected on 4-of-6 throws for 20 yards.
“He’s (Mettenberger) operating the offense,” Miles said. “We threw a lot at him today and he handled it well. He’s got a great attitude. He’s picking it up. He’s aggressive and very competitive and I really like where we are at that position.”
Kenny Hilliard led all running backs with 67 yards and three touchdowns, two of those coming during the redzone portion of the scrimmage. Alfred Blue added 70 yards and a pair of scores, while Jeremy Hill went for 43 yards and a pair of scores. Miles also noted that fullback J.C. Copeland got a couple carries with the No. 1 offense.
Odell Beckham Jr. led all receivers with four catches for 100 yards, followed by James Wright (4 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD), Jarvis Landry (4 catches, 20 yards, 1 TD) and Russell Shepard (3 catches, 40 yards, 1 TD).
“We threw it and we rushed it and it appears that we came out without any injury, which is really what you want for the final scrimmage,” Miles said. “We will take a much- needed day off tomorrow and then begin practicing for our first opponent on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
Miles complimented the play of the No. 1 defense, which faced the No. 2 offense directed by Rivers and Rob Bolden.
“I thought they looked really good,” Miles said of the No. 1 defense. “They really did a nice job of bottling up the run.”
Eric Reid continued his solid camp with an interception to go along with several tackles as he continues to be the leader of the Tiger defense.
“I think Eric Reid is everything that’s advertised,” Miles said. “He’s a quality person, hard worker and a great leader. He’s going to have a great fall. Smart players always key it quicker and get there faster. He knows the play really before it gets off and makes a great break on the ball. He’s always around the football.”
Miles also complimented the play of LSU’s rookie linebackers saying, “there’s a new guy that makes a play just about every day. Kwon Alexander made a couple plays today. He has great speed and I really like Deion Jones. He’s going to be a long-term, a very talented player.”
The Tigers will take a break from practice on Wednesday before turning their complete attention to the North Texas game plan on Thursday afternoon.