With the disappointment of last Saturday’s 27-24 loss at Ole Miss still seared in his mind and the prospect of taking on an outclassed Furman team in this Saturday’s homecoming game, LSU coach Les Miles skirted around the idea at his Monday news conference of using this week’s game as a proving ground for his younger players like second-string quarterback Anthony Jennings.
“First and foremost it’s about victory and that will not be overlooked,” Miles said.
However, the coach quickly added, “we would like to see Anthony Jennings specifically. … We would like to have him see some action in this game.”
Jennings has played in five of eight games for the No. 13 Tigers (6-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference), including the last two. He scored on a keeper against Florida and also got in on a short-yardage play against Ole Miss.
Miles also spoke of several freshmen who have played and impressed him: linebacker/defensive end Kendell Beckwith, cornerbacks Tre’Davious White and Rashard Robinson, center Ethan Pocic and guard Josh Boutte.
“I really think (Beckwith) is a guy who’s got the athleticism and the ability to play defensive end for us at a very high level and Mike (middle) linebacker,” Miles said. “I think he looks to help us best at end.
“(White is) a guy who’s going to get nothing but better, and for my money, Rashard Robinson is the same style of guy.
“Offensively I like the young center, Pocic. I think he’s going to be a dynamic player. I think if I had to pick another one, Josh Boutte is a big, strong beast.”
Fullback J.C. Copeland missed the Ole Miss game after suffering a concussion Thursday when he fell in the shower. Miles was optimistic that he can play against Furman.
“He is much better” Monday, Miles said. “We would expect him to improve. I guess the word would be probable for Saturday.”
Fellow senior Connor Neighbors made his third straight start at fullback, with freshman Melvin Jones playing a few plays as his backup.
Mett mum on Monday
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger declined interviews Monday, typically the only day during the week he speaks to the media.
LSU officials indicated Mettenberger would be asked to come to interviews Tuesday, the last day during the week players are available, but that it was not guaranteed.
Mettenberger did speak after Saturday’s loss in Oxford, Miss. In what was by most measures his worst performance of the season, Mettenberger was 19-of-33 for 274 yards with a touchdown and three first-half interceptions.
Mettenberger threw just two interceptions in LSU’s first seven games.
Jones ‘50-50’ on LSU, Bama
Monroe Neville safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones said he’s split “50-50” between LSU and Alabama and still plans to announce his commitment Nov. 15.
Jones (6-foot-2, 208 pounds), speaking on the “Off the Bench” radio show on WNXX (104.5 FM) Monday night, said he is considering taking an official visit to LSU for the Furman game this weekend. He may also take an official to Alabama for the LSU game Nov. 9.
“I’m kind of at a loss right now,” Jones said. “I need to get my mom’s input.”
A consensus four-star prospect, Jones is ranked No. 24 nationally by ESPN, No. 33 by Rivals, No. 40 by 24/7 Sports and No. 61 by Scout.
Jones said he talked to Miles and Alabama coach Nick Saban with in the last week. He’s also hearing often from West Monroe offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, a recent commitment to Alabama, and LSU freshman wide receiver John Diarse, who also went to Neville.
“He (Robinson) definitely wants to play with me,” Jones said. As for Diarse, “He’s telling me how much he likes it there (at LSU) and how he appreciates what they’re doing for him.”
Mack picks A&M over LSU
Don’t expect to see Daylon Mack roaming the sidelines during the LSU-Furman game.
Mack, one of the top prospects for the Class of 2015, announced on his Facebook account Monday that he has committed to Texas A&M.
Mack, a 6-foot-2, 307-pound defensive tackle from Gladewater, Texas, was scheduled to take a recruiting visit to LSU this weekend.
Mack is ranked No. 10 on the 2015 ESPN junior 300. He was long considered a heavy lean to Texas A&M.
LSU has four commitments for 2015.
The last word
“I hope angry. I’ve got a lot of anger.”
— LSU DT Ego Ferguson on what he thinks the team’s attitude will be this week
Advocate sportswriter Les East contributed to this report.