BATON ROUGE, LA — Quarterback Zach Mettenberger connected on 15-of-30 passes for 190 yards and two scores as top-ranked LSU went through its preseason scrimmage here Saturday indoors at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
Saturday’s scrimmage, the first of three for the Tigers before the season opener, featured 80 snaps for the 1s and 2s and 25 plays for the 3s. LSU also spent time working different areas of special teams, including kickoff coverage and kickoff return as well as punt coverage and punt return.
LSU will take Sunday off before returning to practice on Monday when the team will have two workouts. LSU’s next scrimmage is scheduled for Thursday in Tiger Stadium.
“The scrimmage is awfully important to the development of any team and I felt like we saw a lot of young guys in a bunch of different spots, and a new quarterback that’s operating the business,” Miles said following the workout. “We got a lot accomplished, but we are not ready to play a game. We were sloppy - we had two substitution penalties and several pass interferences. But, this is a perfect way to correct your team. This film will be studied by the players and coaches as we go forward.”
Miles complimented the play of first-year starter Mettenberger, who threw a 55-yard TD pass to Odell Beckham Jr. and a 31-yard scoring pass to James Wright. Miles said that backup quarterback Stephen Rivers was 6-of-10 for 100 yards.
Jeremy Hill led all rushers with 71 yards on nine carries followed by Kenny Hilliard with 31 yards on eight attempts. Michael Ford ran for 30 yards.
“I enjoyed the rushers,” Miles said. “I think Jeremy Hill made a couple of really nice moves and (Russell) Shepard took a couple of balls out of the backfield. We rushed the football pretty well. I thought we threw the ball better than we had (in previous practices). It was a good day, and a nice first scrimmage.”
Beckham Jr. led all receivers with four catches for 101 yards, while James Wright hauled in four passes for 57 yards and Shepard four for 16 yards.
Defensively, junior cornerback Tharold Simon had a good all-around day with two tackles, one sack and an interception. Linebackers Lamin Barrow and Kevin Minter both had four tackles, while Sam Montgomery had a sack. Barrow also added a sack from the outside linebacker position.
“I thought there were some really good performances, but the reality of it is it was what we needed as a team,” Miles said. “I like where we’re at. I really do. I think there’s energy here. I think we are progressing.”
Saturday’s scrimmage marked the first one without cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team on Friday.
“I just told them the truth,” Miles said when asked about how the news was given to the team. “There was nobody in the (team meeting) room that was happy including me, but we understand that this team has to go on. We play a lot of good football teams. We don’t need open wounds when we go off to play. We need to heal and get it right, and go play strong.”
LSU opens its eighth-season under Miles on Saturday, Sept. 1 against North Texas in Tiger Stadium.