Tigers working on home-and-home series with Syracuse in 2015, 2017
A home-and-home series between LSU and Syracuse is close to being a reality.
Senior associate athletic director Verge Ausberry confirmed a CBSSports.com report Thursday that the two schools are working on a pair of games in 2015 and 2017.
The teams would likely play at Tiger Stadium in 2015 and at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y., in 2017, though a contract is still at least weeks away from being finalized.
The Tigers could instead end up traveling to New York in 2015 and playing Syracuse at home in 2017, Ausberry said.
The SEC and ACC have not yet released conference schedules for 2015, a hangup in finalizing the deal with the Orange.
LSU needs two nonconference opponents on the opening two weeks of the season to fill out its 2015 football schedule.
The school has contracts finalized with Western Kentucky and Eastern Michigan. Syracuse would make three non-conference opponents. LSU is finalizing the contract with a fourth school.
The game with Syracuse would continue a string of high-profile early season nonconference games for the Tigers.
LSU opened the 2013 season against TCU in the Cowboys Classic and will open the 2014 season Aug. 30 in Houston’s Reliant Stadium against Wisconsin.
The Tigers and Badgers will open the 2016 season at the Green Bay Packers’ legendary Lambeau Field.
LSU coach Les Miles called Syracuse, which went 7-6 last season and tied for third behind Florida State and Clemson in the ACC Atlantic Division, a “quality opponent.”
He recalled a visit to the Carrier Dome to scout a Syracuse-Indiana game when he was an assistant at Michigan.
“I enjoyed the facility,” Miles said. “But at the back end of the game, there seemed to be a little smoke (in the building).
“Hope they got that fixed.”
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva, who is in Indianapolis serving on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball selection committee, could not be reached for comment.
LSU and Syracuse have met only twice in football, both times in bowl games.
The Tigers beat the Orange 13-10 in the 1965 Sugar Bowl, then lost to Syracuse 23-10 in the 1989 Hall of Fame Bowl (now the Outback Bowl) in Tampa, Fla.
Tigers work in full pads
The Tigers drilled in full gear for the first time during spring practice, working out in sunny and cool conditions Thursday afternoon.
Miles said LSU is working toward a “partial” scrimmage on Saturday.
“I think we’re improving,” he said. “The defense has a lead right now.
“(But) the quarterbacks threw it a little better. We had some very productive work (Thursday).”
The Tigers started the day again with a “Big Cat” drill in which players go man-to-man trying to take each other down as their teammates and coaches urge them on.
“It’s bragging rights and technical training that allows you to translate to when a football game becomes one-on-one, guy versus guy,” Miles said.
He added that the defense won 15 of 18 matchups Thursday.
Tinker, tailor, guard, tackle
Miles said the experimenting continues at right guard, where the Tigers continue to work in seniors Fehoko Fanaika and Evan Washington and sophomore Ethan Pocic.
Pocic also spent about half the practice at center, where he was Elliott Porter’s prime backup last season.
“We’re going to need everybody,” Miles said. “One day we put Hoko in there and have a look at him, then another day we put Evan in there and then Pocic.
“We’re not willing to settle on who’s the starter.”
Herron works at DT
On the defensive side, Miles said redshirt freshman Frank Herron slid over from defensive end to tackle where he worked Thursday with junior Quentin Thomas, sophomore Christian LaCouture and redshirt freshman Greg Gilmore.
“Those guys really have a nice, strong presence inside,” Miles said, then added the coaching staff was “just kind of looking” at Herron at tackle.
Peterson out, Bolden back
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Avery Peterson sat out Thursday after pulling a hamstring running a fly route Tuesday.
Senior Rob Bolden, a converted quarterback, returned to drills at wide receiver after being absent Tuesday.
Junior linebacker Lamar Louis and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Andy Dodd again wore green (no-contact) jerseys.
Advocate sportswriter Ross Dellenger contributed to this report.