High school coaches visit LSU for annual clinic

The LSU football operations building was busy with the usual spring practice activities Thursday, but the day also included hundreds of high school coaches making their arrival for the annual LSU coaches clinic.

A barbecue social followed the LSU football team’s latest practice of the spring.

Friday is the meat-and-potatoes portion of the three-day clinic as Jack Harbaugh, the father of Super Bowl-qualifying coaches John and Jim, will serve as this year’s headline speaker. First-year LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and LSU strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt will also address the coaches.

“I hope they enjoy themselves and find something that can benefit their program,” Tigers coach Les Miles said of the visitors. “I enjoy the fellowship and seeing them. What a great state this is to coach football in.”

Miles estimated 400-600 coaches had registered for the clinic.

A crawfish boil concludes Friday’s schedule. Coaches will then watch LSU scrimmage Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

A head coach at Western Kentucky and Western Michigan, Jack Harbaugh won 116 games during his coaching career, including the Division I-AA national championship in 2002. He was part of the Michigan coaching staff, as a defensive assistant, during Miles’ playing career.

Big cats

Miles introduced a variation of the Big Cat drill Thursday that included multiple players on both sides of the football rather than the customary one-on-one matchups. Miles stressed this wasn’t the Big Cat drill, but rather the Big “Cats” drills.

With the high school coaches on hand, Miles said the players enjoyed having a larger audience than usual.

“We had a great group at practice today, and it created a little competition with the crowd on the perimeter,” Miles said.

Miles said the scrimmage Saturday in Tiger Stadium will include more red-zone work than the Tigers have seen thus far.

The annual spring game is a week from Saturday.

“We’re still making some execution mistakes, but we’re really improving,” Miles said. “I like the tempo. I think our football team is competing and playing hard.”

White out

For the second straight day, senior starter Zach Mettenberger was the only LSU quarterback wearing a green, no-contact practice jersey.

The other quarterbacks wore white jerseys, which gave defensive players the go-ahead to hit them.

“We had everybody but Mettenberger in a white jersey,” Miles said. “Rough them up a little bit.”

Reserve quarterback Stephen Rivers pointed out after Wednesday’s practice that none of Mettenberger’s backups have earned a college letter. He figured Miles made the call to have them in white because he wants them to get a better feel for the game’s physical nature.

Rivers played off the bench in a victory over North Texas in the opening game last year. Anthony Jennings and Hayden Rettig were seniors in high school last fall.

Men in the middle

Miles said junior center
Elliott Porter, considered the likely starter after serving as P.J. Lonergan’s backup last year, continues to impress as he works his way back from a knee injury.

But it also appears that true freshman Ethan Pocic will remain at center. At least for now.

“It appears to me Elliott Porter will be good enough,” Miles said. “If not good enough, then maybe one of our better ones. I like the fact we’re building depth there. Ethan Pocic is really going to be a great center at some point in time.”

Pocic has worked at center all spring despite arriving at LSU in January as one of the nation’s top tackle prospects.

Miles said senior Josh Williford, an offensive guard by trade, is also getting some work at center.