Continued improvement on both sides of the ball was the theme for LSU on Saturday as the Tigers held their first full-scale scrimmage of the spring here in Tiger Stadium.
Saturday's scrimmage was the first of three for the Tigers this spring. LSU will scrimmage again next Saturday and then wrap up spring drills with the annual National L Club Spring Game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 5.
"Let me characterize today by saying that there was improvement in assignment, improvement in snap, cadence and function," LSU coach Les Miles said. "It was a much more competitive go, offense and defense. We threw the ball well and rushed the ball well at times. We really defended well, but we did have some missed tackles that allowed the offense to extend drives."
Miles complimented the play of quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris and the running of Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee.
"We still want to push the ball down the field," Miles said of the offense. "We had two big passes downfield and we probably threw for just under 300 yards today with some nice deep throws. Both quarterbacks were sharp, and the passing game overall was sharp. We dropped a couple passes that were right on the money but overall, we were able to complete a lot of balls.
"Both (Terrence) Magee and Kenny Hilliard had really nice running days today," Miles said. "I think Magee is going to have a great fall, and I think Hilliard is going to have a great fall. It looks to me that Kenny Hilliard has lost a little bit of weight, and he's a little bit quicker than he's been."
Stats from the scrimmage were not released, but Miles noted that sophomore Travin Dural caught a long touchdown pass, while Hilliard ran for a pair of TDs.
Defensively, Miles said he continues to be impressed with the improvement of the defensive line, in particular that of defensive tackles Christian LaCouture and Maquedius Bain and defensive end Tashawn Bower. LaCouture and Bain each had sacks for the defense, while Bower added a couple a quarterback pressures.
"I think we protected pretty well today, but we did get a pass rush," Miles said. "What happens in matchups, if you're a second string offensive lineman up there against Danielle Hunter, it's just not fair. Christian LaCouture had a couple nice pressures and saw him get a sack. I think Tashawn Bower had a good day as well. I've been impressed with the play of the defensive line and I think they continue to get better with each practice."
Miles also complimented the play of special teamers Trent Domingue and Colby Delahoussaye.
"We made a lot of improvement in the punting game," Miles said. "Jamie Keehn isn't getting a lot of snaps right now, but Trent Domingue has really improved. I think we were perfect with 42 (Colby Delahoussaye) at field goals and really got better as team in this scrimmage."
After Saturday's scrimmage, LSU is now past the halfway point of spring practice with just five practices and two scrimmages remaining on the schedule. Miles said he likes the improvement that Tigers have made through the first eight practices of the spring.
"You look at this scrimmage and it was a really strong event for us," Miles said. "I think our team is in position now to take some real strides and work towards being a very good football team. I liked how the offensive line performed, and I liked how the defensive line performed. I felt like there was a lot of competition there. Again, I think we are putting ourselves in position to have a physical, deceptive, quality football team."
LSU will return to practice on Tuesday afternoon in the first of three workouts next week for the Tigers.
(Information received from the LSU Sports Department)