Les Miles reveres jaw-jarring football as much any coach in the nation.
Yet the ninth-year LSU coach has been clear in his support for the new punishment tied to college football’s targeting rule, which penalizes players for taking aim at an opponent’s head or neck, and said the onus is on program’s to teach proper tackling technique.
So, were there any instances in which officials tossed a yellow hanky during the Tigers first scrimmage Wednesday?
“There were some real hits,” Miles said. “There was nothing close to what would have been considered launching.”
Naturally, Miles wants to see it called, right?
“No,” Miles said flatly. “I don’t want to see it called. I want to see it not called. I want to see us down low, wrapping up, being physical and playing ball the way it’s supposed to be played at this point. If it showed, I would want it called.”
The LSU coaching staff has tried to teach tackling differently, and a couple weeks ago, Steve Shaw, the SEC’s head of officials, swung through Baton Rouge for a meeting and film review session about how the penalty — now resulting in an ejection and a 15-yard penalty — will be called.
If Miles’ comments are evidence of how seriously he takes the rule change, the punishment he outlined should give an idea of how he’ll handle players who fail to comply.
“Frankly, if our guys are launching against our guys, I’m firing somebody,” Miles said. “I’m talking about throwing them out of the building. There’s no reason for that. To be honest with you, we’ve never had that.”
Working mind and body
From the outset of camp, Miles has emphasized how he wants its practice structure to produce quality over quantity.
Last week, it entailed splitting his squad into veterans and newcomers, ensuring each half only practiced once a day but saw more reps than they might otherwise get with the squad fully assembled.
The setup allowed freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings to get more snaps operating in the afternoon, and Miles lauded defensive end Justin Maclin for taking advantage of the format to leave an impression.
Now, LSU is treating some practices less like a conditioning exercise and more like a study hall as it prepares for its final scrimmages Saturday and Tuesday.
“We’re using some practices as an elaborate walkthrough,” Miles said. “It’s inside. It’s thinking work, designed to make sure (players) have fresh legs the longer they get into the (preseason) schedule. So far, it seems to be working.”
Watch your bag, folks
Roughly two weeks remain until LSU kicks off against TCU, but fans might want to start preparing for a set of rules on game day.
Because the meeting happens at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the recently imposed NFL regulations concerning bags, purses and backpacks also apply to the Cowboys Classic.
A slew of items are prohibited from being carried into the stadium, including purses larger than a clutch, coolers, brief cases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions and camera bags.
Here are the items that fans carry in past the turnstiles:
One gallon freezer bags; small clutch purses; cameras; binoculars; smart phones.