Starting his 11th spring with the addition of three new coaches and speculation still abound at multiple positions, LSU coach Les Miles was downright giddy after the team’s first two-hour session.
“A lot to be accomplished and a lot to do, but for the first one, a lot of enthusiasm,” Miles said. “I really enjoyed today’s practice. Don’t know if I’ve been around a practice to start a spring that was as productive.”
Miles lauded his three new coaches - receivers coach Tony Ball, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron - asserting all three brought their own styles and all three had their players ready to play.
“Not counting” on Valentine
Defensive tackle Travonte Valentine has no lingering eligibility issues from last season, according to Miles, but was absent from practice for disciplinary reasons, the coach said. “He’s not a guy that we’re counting on at this point. For right now,” Miles said.
Approached after he finished his press conference, Miles added the issues surrounding Valentine’s discipline was academic.
“We have insisted he do some things academically that he failed to do,” Miles said. “We’re doing everything we can to assist him.”
On Womack and Chavis
Miles addressed the NCAA sanctions that were handed to his program after Matt Womack’s recruitment.
“I don’t know how I could have done it differently,” Miles said. “We signed a guy who committed to us, to come to us. Then he decided, really in his home, that he was thinking about not taking the English course that was going to allow him to come early to LSU. At that point in time, we went back to our compliance officers and they said ‘Cease and desist on recruiting him.’ So we couldn’t even call or recruit the guy. So he went to another school, which is punishment enough. Anyway ... I didn’t quite know how to handle it any differently than we did.”
When asked of former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis and his lawsuit against the school, Miles offered this: “I don’t really know exactly what’s going on. I haven’t really kept up with it to be very honest. I certainly understand what happened, and it’s unfortunate.”
Miles said Devin Voorhies has moved from safety to linebacker, a position where LSU coaches said more depth was needed in the offseason. Tony Upchurch has also moved from wide receiver to fullback, where Miles said his 230-pound frame is better utilized.