LSU junior safety Jalen Mills practiced with the veterans Tuesday, a day after being reinstated to the football team.
He went through morning drills Tuesday, the first of LSU’s two practices on the second day of preseason camp. For the first four days, the morning practice includes mostly veterans and starters.
LSU coach Les Miles lifted Mills’ suspension Monday, the same day East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore charged Mills with misdemeanor simple battery. Mills had been booked on second-degree battery, a felony.
Mills practiced alongside Ronald Martin in what appeared to be the starting defensive group. He was not made available to reporters.
“With him, you get a guy that knows every position,” starting cornerback Tre’Davious White said. “Guy like that, you want him on your side.”
As for the off the field stuff, White said, “He just wants to get back to football, get back to what he loves and is so passionate about.”
LSU is readying its true freshmen for game conditions with a mini noncontact scrimmage toward the end of each practice, Miles said.
The coach calls it an “emphasis period.”
“We are going to have competition,” Miles said. “The emphasis period is going to be viewed as close to game-like conditions as possible. That will kind of give those young guys getting snaps game-like situations starting in the first practice, even though it’s not with the pressure of contact.”
Miles said as many as 15 true freshmen could play this season.
Even though LSU is going to look a lot different at quarterback with Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris instead of Zach Mettenberger, the starter for the past two years, tailback Terrence Magee said the offense won’t change much.
While Mettenberger was a classic pocket passer with a strong arm, Jennings and Harris will give LSU a true run-pass threat on any given play.
“It’s only a little bit different now because those guys are a little more mobile than Zach was,” Magee said. “But for the most part, our offense isn’t going to change since Zach left.
“The biggest key is we have the ability to do a few more things now because (Jennings and Harris) can move around a little bit.”
Even though the LSU media guide has noted in White’s bio for the past two seasons that he’s related to former Tigers’ All-American Morris Claiborne, who is now with Dallas Cowboys, White said it’s not totally accurate.
It was believed that the two were cousins, but White said Tuesday they aren’t blood relatives and that the two are “Godbrothers” who played AAU basketball together in Shreveport.
“Everybody started saying we looked like each other, and we just started talking to each other,” White said. “One thing led to another, and now I’m around him all the time. I’m going to his house over the summer and trying to spend time.
“To try and do the things he did when he was here will just make me a better player.”
Miles worked the first two days during individual drills with Hoko Fanakai and Evan Washington, who are competing for the starting job at right guard, and center Ethan Pocic.
After being asked if he’d seen any film of Miles playing guard at Michigan in the mid-1970s as a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder, Fanakai — who stands 6-6 and weighs 330 pounds — smiled and said, “I’ve seen a picture. ... He was pretty solid.”
The heat is on
After getting a bit of a weather break when they took the field for the first time Monday morning, LSU’s veterans had the heat turned up on them Tuesday.
At 10 a.m. Monday, midway through the Tigers’ non-padded practice, it was 81 degrees with a head index of 84 under overcast skies.
The heat and humidity returned with a vengeance Tuesday morning. At 10 a.m., it was 87 and felt like 94.
Fewer than 1,800 tickets remain for LSU’s season-opening game against Wisconsin on Aug. 30 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Officials from Lone Star Sports & Entertainment announced Tuesday that more than 69,000 tickets have been sold. Tickets can be purchased at www.TicketMaster.com or by calling the NRG Stadium box office at (832) 667-2390.
-- Ross Dellenger and Sheldon Mickles