LSU spring football sessions pass halfway mark

LSU’s spring football practice schedule nosed just past the halfway point of the schedule Thursday with the eighth of 15 sessions.

If only the inexperienced quarterbacks and receivers were just past halfway to where they need to be for the Tigers’ Aug. 30 opener with Wisconsin.

“The center-quarterback exchange with the young guys was kind of exciting,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “But we’re improving daily.”

The receiver corps was thinned Thursday by the absence of redshirt freshman John Diarse. Miles said he recently underwent a “small” medical procedure but did not elaborate.

It will likely keep him out of Saturday’s scrimmage, Miles said.

LSU is missing Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who both left a year early for the NFL after leading the Tigers in receiving.

But in but in Miles’ mind, they have been erased from the equation.

“It’s not (about) those guys,” he said. “Those guys are gone.”

The only receivers who caught passes last season are sophomore Travin Dural (seven receptions, 145 yards, 2 TDs) and senior Quantavius Leslie (1 for 11).

The Tigers will be counting on redshirt freshmen Diarse, Avery Peterson and Kevin Spears as well as an influx of high school freshmen Malachi Dupre, Tony Upchurch, Trey Quinn and D.J. Chark.

As usual, though, Miles sounded an optimistic tone.

“In a certain year, you can look bad at the guard spot or the receiver spot, different places,” Miles said. “But come the fall, it gets healthy again.”

Miles also said the Tigers will likely use tight ends DeSean Smith, a sophomore, and incoming freshman Jacory Washington as key pieces of the passing game this season.

More on scrimmage

The Tigers will go through their second and longest spring scrimmage to date Saturday.

Miles said there will be some “thudding” (contact not continuing to the ground), more down-and-distance situations (the Tigers focused in last week’s scrimmage on first-and-10) and some special-teams work.

Coaches clinic

Miles lit up as he ran down the lineup for the annual LSU coaches clinic, which set for March 27-29.

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be the featured speaker March 27 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, followed the next night by keynote speaker Ray Lewis, the former two-time Super Bowl champion linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens.

Oakland Raiders special teams coach Bobby April will also be a featured speaker March 28.

“It’s going to be an entertaining venue,” Miles said. “We encourage every coach in Louisiana to come.”

For information, visit LSUCamp.com or call the LSU football office at (225) 578-1151.

Odds and ends

The Tigers practiced in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts Thursday. They’ll take the day off from practicing Friday but will have a brief team meeting to prepare for Saturday’s scrimmage. ... Junior linebacker Lamar Louis, sophomore linebacker Kendell Beckwith and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Andy Dodd practiced in green (no-contact) jerseys. ... Junior linerbacker Ronnie Feist watched practice but is sitting out this spring. ... University High offensive guard Garrett Brumfield, an LSU signee, also attended practice.

Who needs a bracket?

It’s against NCAA rules for a coach like Miles to take part in an NCAA tournament office pool, but that doesn’t mean Miles doesn’t know the score.

Asked if he heard that Ohio State — archrival to his alma mater, Michigan — was eliminated 60-59 by Dayton earlier Thursday, Miles smiled and replied, “Breaks my heart.”

The day was a win-win for Miles as the Wolverines advanced past Wofford 57-40.