After LSU tight ends combined for 12 receptions each of the past two seasons, LSU junior DeSean Smith believes this year they can be more of an asset for the offense this year. Smith spoke after Friday’s morning practice.

What are the expectations for the tight ends this season?

I see us improving this year, much more than last year. ... For sure, we’re going to play a bigger role in our offense.

Why are you so confident the tight ends will have a bigger role?

We’re definitely catching a lot more, getting a lot more balls. Me and Dillon (Gordon) and Colin (Jeter) were talking (Thursday). It was like, ‘Y’all notice something different?’ We were getting a lot of balls thrown our way, and we just said that we have to capitalize and prove to our coaches that we want the ball and that we’re going to do good with it in our hands.

You caught one pass in 2013 and four last season — all of them for 66 yards in the Music City Bowl. Do you feel like that game was an eye-opener for the coaches?

Absolutely, man. I feel like it helped our offense open up a lot. You saw Leonard (Fournette) just hitting holes, doing what he does best. That’s going to help our offense big-time. If ... we spread the ball around, there’s no doubt we’re going to win every down.

That had to be exciting, but how bittersweet was it because your team lost the game?

It was great ... it was awesome. Guys were saying it was my time. I had been waiting on it, but in the end it wasn’t good enough. We lost, and it would’ve been better if we had won. I felt more for my team than myself. ... I would’ve much rather had a win than the four catches.

You had a 50-yard touchdown catch in the spring game. Did your bowl game performance carry over for you and the other tight ends to the spring?

We just need to get the ball to our tight ends more. We can do the things the wide receivers do, except maybe they’re faster than us. ... We’re just as good, and we can make those plays that they make.

You had a key drop in the season opener against Wisconsin. How did that weigh on you as the season went on?

I should have capitalized against Wisconsin; I don’t drop balls like that, but everybody does it. That whole week, those couple of weeks, I thought I was the worst tight end in the world after dropping one pass. What made me feel better is when we played Florida and their tight end dropped one right in the middle of the end zone. I was like, ‘Well, I guess everybody drops a ball.’

The tight ends were involved in the two-minute offense today, is that a positive sign for you guys?

There’s no doubt. If we aren’t (in there), there’s something wrong. We should get a lot more balls thrown our way this year. If we just keep spreading the ball around, (the tight ends) are going to open it up more.