He may have finished his LSU athletic eligibility 30 years ago, but men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones said he wants one chance — just one chance — to get on the football field.
“I may have on a dress shirt and slacks, but my ankles are taped,” Jones joked as he spoke during Monday’s LSU Tiger Tour stop at the Lod Cook Alumni Center. “I just want to be on the kickoff team one time. They may have to carry me off on a stretcher, but I will touch someone.”
Notice Jones didn’t say he wants a chance to play defense. Maybe that’s because defensive coordinator John Chavis has let Jones know his services wouldn’t be required — even for one play.
Despite the loss of seven starters to the NFL — six of them drafted along with former cornerback Tyrann Mathieu — Chavis still sounds a confident, almost defiant tone about his defense going into the 2013 season.
“I think the first 11 we put on the field will be as good as any in the country,” Chavis said. “The thing we’ve got to do is build that depth.”
Depth also took a hit with the loss of players like senior defensive end Lavar Edwards, also drafted in the fifth round by the Tennessee Titans.
But despite that, Chavis didn’t shy away from expectations born by having the nation’s eighth-ranked total defense last year.
“I’m excited,” Chavis said. “We’ve recruited well enough to have expectations. Tradition doesn’t graduate. It’s still here.”
Former offensive coordinator turned football administrative assistant Steve Kragthorpe represented the offense. He lauded new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, calling his addition to the staff earlier this year “a seamless transition.”
“The thing Cam will do is take the things our players do well and accentuate those,” Kragthorpe said.
Kragthorpe said he believes senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger will continue to improve after having played an entire season as a starter.
“Zach will really benefit from having played 13 games last year,” Kragthorpe said.
The Tiger Tour resumes next Tuesday at the Riverside Hilton in New Orleans and concludes May 22 at Tchefuncta Country Club in Covington.
Jones and football coach Les Miles are scheduled to appear at both stops.
Athletic director Joe Alleva said the beautification projects to replace all the old dormitory windows in Tiger Stadium and the walkway around the north end of the stadium are still on track to be completed by the start of the 2013 season.
Alleva also said all the club seats and suites being added to Tiger Stadium’s south end for the 2014 season have been pre-sold — with a waiting list put in place.
Alleva also said the project will allow LSU to open up about 1,500 seats in the lower bowl of Tiger Stadium for LSU fans, moving visiting fans to the upper deck.
Junior college wide receiver transfer Quantavius Leslie tweeted that he passed a math class he needed to be eligible to play at LSU this fall.
“Happy is an understatement for how I’m feeling right now,” Leslie tweeted. “Found out I passed my college algebra class.”
Kragthorpe said during the Tiger Tour event, “Quantavius Leslie should be here in the fall.”
A 6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver from Hogansville, Ga., Leslie played two seasons at Hinds (Miss.) Community College. A four-star prospect according to ESPN, Rivals and 24/7 Sports, Leslie had 517 yards and seven touchdowns receiving in six games in 2012, averaging 21.5 yards per catch.
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