Tiger newcomers audition for roles in LSU secondary

Driven inside by a steady rain Wednesday, LSU headed inside to the dry confines of the its indoor practice facility.

It was an appropriate setting for the Tigers’ first scrimmage.

Prying eyes were kept aside, and coach Les Miles’ answers about the 56-snap affair ranged between cryptic and selective. A trend, however faintly hinted at, remains steady: The freshmen better be ready for early playing time.

“We got a look at a lot of guys,” Miles said.

Fourteen preseason practices are in the books, and Wednesday’s first game-like setting solely focused on red-zone work.

But a few tidbits help bring into focus which members of the nation’s No. 6 recruiting class are leaving a distinct impression.

Plugging a hole at nickelback is perhaps the first place to start. Sophomore Micah Eugene is now tangling with Ronald Martin and Corey Thompson for the free safety job, leaving freshmen Tre’Davious White, Jeryl Brazil and Rickey Jefferson trying to crack the rotation in sub packages.

Miles wasn’t specific, but it appears Jefferson, a 5-foot-10, 187-pound St. Rose native, and White, a fellow four-star recruit who graduated from Green Oaks High, are the chief contenders for those snaps.

“Tre’Davious White is out there playing and getting some significant snaps,” Miles said. “There’s some freshmen that are certainly capable.”

Almost two weeks after first-day tweaking and experimentation, Brazil, a 5-9, 181-pound prospect from Loranger, continues to see some carries at running back, where his speed is an alluring trait. In the backfield, Melvin Jones, who arrived as a linebacker, is now working as a fullback and tight end in another tinkering move that seems as if it’s closer to being permanent.

Frshman quarterback Anthony Jennings worked with the No. 2 offense, which faced the second-team defense.

Jennings’ performance wasn’t detailed extensively — in fact, no stats were provided — but Miles lauded the Elite 11 camp alum’s consistency in carrying out the basic duties of the job.

“Very well,” Miles said. “(He) executed, handed off in the run and did the things he was supposed to do.”

Asked how much Jennings put the ball aloft, Miles said the dual-threat quarterback out of Marietta, Ga., threw on 10 of 16 snaps, adding: “that’s the style of guy he is.”

Working up front in the trenches, there seems to be little resolution at the center position, where Ethan Pocic is trying to supplant sophomore Elliott Porter for the starting job. And it seems as if both have entrenched themselves for a long-term battle that might lead to both splitting time in the Aug. 31 opener against TCU.

“It’s Porter and Pocic fighting it out at center, both (of) which of are improving,” Miles said without elaborating.

Across the line, the eight-man rotation on defense also appears to have two freshmen ready to step in and fill out the second wave in Tashawn Bower and Christian LaCouture.

“He’s one of those big, fast (and) young men that can really step to the field,” Miles said of Bower. “Christian LaCouture is another guy that’s going to some significant football. I like all of them, to be honest with you.”

Factoring in the four starting jobs, which at one end spot would leave either Danielle Hunter or Jordan Allen second on the depth chart, and it would appear the Tigers are hunting for another end and tackle to roll out.

“There’s a lot of guys that can step in there in play,” Miles said.