Miles fine tunes spring game details
March, 29, 2012
By David Helman | ESPN.com
BATON ROUGE -- With spring practices all but concluded, and the zaniness of a student-attended practice behind him, LSU coach Les Miles set to work on the final details of Saturday's spring game.
Except, of course, for perhaps the most important detail -- who will be participating. The Tigers' month of preparation for the spring game is concluded, but Miles said his coaching staff will wait until the last possible minute to split the team roster into competing squads.
"We will discuss that fully in the morning," said Miles on Thursday night.
While he might not have teams in mind just yet, Miles was willing to share other details of Saturday's game. As has been customary, he said that after using traditional rules in the first half, the Tigers will play with a running clock in the game's second half, adding "late in the game it will run real fast."
Anyone who has seen a spring game before should be familiar with the gameplan for the weekend. Miles said the game should run according to the team's first two scrimmages of the season -- basic packages with some focus on red zone play.
"It will be very vanilla, but it will certainly be a game where we expect our players to play," he said. "We're going to put players in position to make plays and see how they develop."
Final injury report: Miles gave updates on several guys who were questionable heading into the spring game. Craig Loston, who has missed the last week to a toe injury, is a no-go at strong safety, opening the door for several young players.
"Micah Eugene and Ronald Martin are both guys that have benefitted greatly from the extra snaps," Miles said.
Miles added that Loston's status for the fall is in no jeopardy.
"It's a toe -- few people die because of toes," he said.
Michael Ford and Kadron Boone won't be going on Saturday, either. Although Miles said again, as he has all spring, that none of the Tigers' injuries should linger into the fall.
No word on No. 18: Miles said at the start of spring that he was unsure who, if anyone, would lay claim to the coveted No. 18 jersey Brandon Taylor left vacant in January. On Thursday, Miles said he's closer to knowing, but he isn't ready to announce who will don the new threads.
"We have a strong suspicion of who it will be, but we're not ready to make a decision," he said.
New drill: The Tigers were hands-off in their final practice, since they weren't wearing any padding. But reporters happened to bring up the defensive drill the defense went through on Tuesday afternoon. Introduced by new secondary coach Corey Raymond, the drill pitted one defender against three blockers and turned some heads with its physicality and intensity.
When asked what it was called, Miles' reply was classic: "I don't know what it's called. Blood-letting -- something medieval."
Student success: By all accounts, the team's foray into student appreciation day was a raving succes. Miles said about 400 students showed up at practice to watch the team go through drills and plays. Miles conducted punting and passing competitions among male and female students, and concluded the day with an obstacle course and an autograph signing session.
"We play for you guys, whether you know it or not," he told the assembled students.
Miles said the event went off much more smoothly than he had anticipated.
"I was way hesitant," he said about inviting students. "I over-thought everything. What if 17,000 students had shown up?"