BATON ROUGE – LSU held its first day of pre-season workouts Monday as the Tigers went through a pair of split-squad practices here at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
Monday’s workout was the first of four days that will see the Tigers hold split-squad practices. LSU will practice for the first time as a full team on Friday. LSU practiced in shorts and helmets on Monday, and will do say again on Tuesday, before adding shoulder pads on Wednesday and Thursday. LSU’s first full-pads practice will be on Friday morning.
“We divided the team so we can have twice the reps,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “The split squad practices are beneficial to young guys who are getting a chance to get a lot of work during these first four days.
“Don’t make too much of which group players are practicing with. This is designed so that everyone is getting maximum reps. It may be as deceptive as pairing linebackers together so they can see it being done extremely well. It is fully for teaching purposes so that everyone can get maximum reps.”
On Monday, the morning workout consisted mainly on veterans will a handful of freshmen and sophomores in the group. The afternoon group was made up of mostly freshmen, which included quarterback Brandon Harris and running back Leonard Fournette. Miles said he will switch the quarterbacks on Tuesday as Harris will workout in the morning session, while sophomore Anthony Jennings will go with the afternoon group.
Monday was also the first day that Miles and his staff where able to have on-field instruction with what was rated as the nation’s No. 2 signing class. According to Miles, the group of freshmen didn’t disappoint.
“I was really excited to finally get out there with them. There were a number of guys that really showed well. It’s a good group. I like our receivers. I think they are going to be really good and the young guys will be pressing to play. It takes time to run routes and learn adjustments.
“You’ll see some talented guys in this (freshman) class that will learn quickly. They will eventually get there. This class is the style of class that you can win a national championship with hopefully sooner or later.”
Miles said he was impressed with Fournette, who was rated as the No. 1 overall play in high school football last year, but he wants to see what he can do when he puts the pads on.
“We have to see him with pads on,” Miles said. “He has acceleration, good vision and good ball skills. I would guess that he would be a physical back once we put the pads on. We’re going to see how fast he comes, and I’ll be able to tell once we get closer to a game.”
Miles also announced that junior defensive back Jalen Mills returned to the squad after being suspended from the team for the entire summer. Mills practiced with the afternoon group on Monday.
“Jalen practiced with us today,” Miles said. “He was suspended from the team for the entire summer. He will continue to be disciplined internally.
“The decision to let him come back took time. After an entire summer of suspension we felt like we’d bring him back, but he will continue to be disciplined.”
LSU opens its 10th season under Miles on Saturday, Aug. 30 when the Tigers face 14th-ranked Wisconsin in the Advocare Kickoff at NRG Stadium in Houston. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN.