LSU held its first full-squad practice of preseason camp Saturday morning and coach Les Miles described it as being “sloppy as sin,” but he added that that’s the nature of the beast.
“It was very similar to the other first full-squad practices that we’ve had around here,” Miles said. “The ball was on the ground a lot. It takes probably five practices to get the speed of the game where you want it. We’re a ways away from that but hopefully it will come quick.”
The Tigers are going through the annual phase of getting freshmen acclimated to the tempo the coaches prefer in practice.
“They are getting their reps,” Miles said of the freshmen. “We are trying to bring the intensity to them rather than bringing them up to the intensity. We’ll hit more and we’ll do more live drills.
“Once you institute the procedure around live drills, suddenly the tempo of practice is adjusted. We’re not where we need to be yet, but it will come in the next few days.”
Miles said “the tough part” of practice was trying to get enough reps for everybody with 105 players on the roster.
Miles said he’s careful not to read too much into his first impressions of freshmen, but it’s a necessary part of the evaluation.
“I like to avoid making decisions on first impressions of the freshmen as much as I can,” he said. “Early observations may or may not be correct, but you still have to make them or you have a chance to leave a very talented player on the sideline.
“I give my intuition a chance to work for us. If I’m right, then great. If I’m not you just slow up on them because you know they’re going to be a good player anyway because you have time.”
Though he can afford to be patient with a freshman, Miles said he doesn’t want players biding their time because it can stunt their development.
One freshman who has made a big first impression is defensive tackle Anthony “Freak” Johnson, one of the top recruits in the country.
“I think he’s unbelievable,” Miles said. “He’s one of those guys who’s got real good physical ability and it’s matched by a very bright mind.”
Sophomore defensive end Sam Montgomery has also been impressed with Johnson (6-foot-3, 310 pounds), who enrolled early and participated in spring drills.
“Anthony Johnson is doing increasingly well day by day,” Montgomery said. “He’s quick off the ball, he has good hands. He’s running to the football, doing everything he’s told to do. He’s fitting right on in with the older guys. We’re just breaking him in easy every day. He’s going to be a great player and make a lot of plays for us.”
“I know it’s hot. I know it’s going to be hard. But we’ve been working hard this summer and I’m excited for this fall to see the outcome. Every time I think about it I just get the goose-bumps.” — Sophomore running back Spencer Ware.
The Tigers practiced only in the morning Saturday, then spent the afternoon meeting and lifting weights. They will practice once Sunday, then work in full pads for the first time Monday.
There will be no media availability Sunday.
Sophomore G Josh Williford joined the team Saturday after missing the first two days of practice because of two deaths in his family. … Freshman RB Terrence McGee and sophomore FB J.C. Copeland didn’t practice. Miles said they had minor, unspecified injuries.