Zach Mettenberger threw five touchdown passes, but LSU coach Les Miles said
the defense “won the day” during the Tigers’ second scrimmage of preseason camp Thursday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.
The scrimmage consisted of approximately 120 plays, most of which featured the starting offense against the starting defense, though the ones went against the twos for a minority of snaps.
Mettenberger completed 15-of-26 passes for 170 yards and threw one interception. Five offensive series started in the red zone, giving the offense “a number of opportunities to score,” Miles said.
Three of the touchdown passes came from 15 yards and went to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and tight ends Chase Clement and Nic Jacobs. Mettenberger’s longest completion was for 34 yards. Beckham led the receivers with five catches for 62 yards and four players had two receptions each.
“I think offensively we’re early in the development, but I like where we’re at,” Miles said. “I think we’re coming. There were big plays in the throwing game, and some sharp runs. There were also some execution faux pas that need to get fixed.”
Backup quarterback Stephen Rivers completed 8-of-15 for 70 yards, and the offense rushed for 300 yards. Alfred Blue had the most yards, 106 on 13 carries, and Kenny Hilliard had the most carries, 17 for 100 yards.
“The defense played well,” Miles said. “There was some really good tackling. The guys up front got after us pretty good. I think the defense probably won the day, but I think we had enough offense that if we secure some mistakes and fix some things we’re going to be pretty good.”
Miles said middle linebacker Kevin Minter “made some big plays,” safety Eric Reid “played very well” and the young cornerbacks competing to replace Tyrann Mathieu “broke up some balls.” Minter and Reid led the defense with five tackles each.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Jalen Collins, who missed the first scrimmage last Saturday because of an undisclosed injury, participated at 100 percent, Miles said. Collins, true freshman Jalen Mills and others took turns with the first-team defense in the wake of Mathieu’s dismissal last week for violating team and university policy.
“(Collins and Mills) both played well,” Miles said. “I liked them. I think we’re going to be good enough there. They’ve got to come on and continue to improve, but I like the way they’re playing.”
Miles said the Tigers worked on every area of special teams “intermittently.”
“We’re in a position where we’re looking at some young guys,” Miles said, “and some guys that have an opportunity to play and guys that have an opportunity to play special teams. “
LSU also worked on some two-point conversions.
Miles said one of the highlights of the scrimmage was that “we didn’t get anybody hurt.”
Right tackle Alex Hurst missed his second consecutive scrimmage because of an undisclosed injury, but Miles said he wasn’t concerned about the injury. Freshman Vidal Alexander started in Hurst’s place.
Left tackle Chris Faulk, who missed Saturday’s scrimmage because of an undisclosed injury, participated and shared time with Josh Dworaczyk, who had started in Hurst’s place Saturday.
Running back Spencer Ware did not participate because of of an undisclosed injury, but the coach said “we look forward to getting him back soon.” Michael Ford and true freshman Jeremy Hill had carries behind Blue and Hilliard.
Miles said safety Craig Loston is “still a little slowed” by a leg injury.
The Tigers will be off Friday before returning to practice Saturday. The third and final scrimmage of the preseason is scheduled for Tuesday.