Miles speaks of personnel, new dining hall, QB battle, Fournette at Rotary

LSU defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao will “probably not” play this season, and “everything’s pretty positive” with starting defensive back Jalen Mills, coach Les Miles said Wednesday after his speech to the Baton Rouge Rotary Club.

Lealaimatafao, a freshman from Texas, punched through a window in the team’s weight room about 10 days ago, severely cutting his left arm. Miles said it would have “been interesting to see” Lealaimatafao healthy in fall camp.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore is still deciding whether to charge Mills, suspended after his arrest last month for second-degree battery.

“I’m told everything’s pretty positive,” Miles said of Mills’ situation. “It’s a very unfortunate situation. Somebody came to his apartment and pursued him. It’s unfortunate on both ends.”

Miles also confirmed that four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine is awaiting clearance from the NCAA Clearinghouse. Valentine, a Florida native, appears to be the only freshman in peril of not reporting Sunday with the rest of the team.

Miles entertained more than 400 Rotary Club members and guests at Boudreaux’s in Baton Rouge, touching on LSU’s quarterback battle, a possible new dining hall for athletes and star rookie running back Leonard Fournette.

LSU begins fall camp Monday.

Fournette, the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruit in the 2014 class, is LSU’s “fastest or the second-fastest player” despite his size of 6-1, 230, Miles said.

“He’s going to come to practice and listen and learn the offense,” the coach said. “If he does that, he’ll play very significant football.

“He doesn’t have to be all-world tomorrow, just by the first game – that’s all,” Miles said to laughter.

The coach reiterated that he will not make a decision on a starting quarterback “quickly,” but let sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris compete.

“I think Anthony Jennings certainly has experience and recognizes the opportunity he has. He’s a very talented player in his own right,” Miles said. “I think Brandon Harris is a very talented player, maybe a little more naturally talented.”

Miles took questions from audience members, one of which asked if his staff would be willing to use a two-quarterback system.

“We’re thinking about two quarterbacks. Problem is, there’s just one ball,” Miles said to a burst of laughter.

Miles said the staff is studying two ideas: playing both quarterbacks on the field at one time, with one split wide; and rotating the quarterbacks.

Afterward, Miles was asked if he was serious about those plans.

“I have no idea,” he said. “We’ll find out how that all goes. We’re so far away from making a decision like that I can’t tell you.”

Asked about an athletic dining hall, Miles said the long-term plan is to build a “quality eatery” for athletes at the site of the old Alex Box Stadium.

Athletic director Joe Alleva confirmed that LSU wants to build a nutrition center and an athletic dorm at that site. They would be connected. The university, Alleva said, would need to raise $10-12 million.

“We would be able to feed all of our athletes there and have a chef to tailor meals to the needs of our athletes,” Alleva said. “It is part of our plan. I can’t tell you when it’s going to happen.”

Miles touched on several other subjects during his address and subsequent meeting with reporters:

- Miles said safety Corey Thompson is fully healthy. “He’s ready to roll,” the coach said. Thompson suffered a season-ending knee injury against Texas A&M last year.

- If Fournette is the second-fastest on the team, who is the fastest: “D.J. Chark,” Miles said. Chark is a freshman receiver from Alexandria.

- Miles said reserve quarterback and baseball outfielder Jared Foster is “really a lot stronger, more capable athlete” than he was when Foster walked on to the team his freshman season. Foster rejoined the football team this summer after three LSU reserve quarterbacks transferred. “I think he’s a guy who can step on the field,” Miles said of Foster. “We’re really looking at some of the athletic things he does.”

- Miles did a commercial last week from Tiger Stadium that “had something to do with grass,” he said. “Until they realize I’m terrible at it ... I’m going to do it.”

- Miles mentioned freshmen Jamal Adams and John Battle as first-year players who could play immediately at safety. “I love both of them,” he said.

- Miles called the linebacker group “as fast a group we’ve ever had.”

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