LSU's closed scrimmages during fall camp are mysterious.
Usually, little can be made of what happens in these glorified practices because they are closed to the public. But that was not the case on Tuesday, as head coach Les Miles openly discussed some important topics surrounding his team after the scrimmage.
LSU focused on Wisconsin for the first time in fall camp during the scrimmage, per David Ching of ESPN.com. Miles said his team's similarity to the Badgers made it easier.
“We were able to accommodate both offense and defense to some extent exactly what Wisconsin would be like,” Miles said, per Ching. “Our defense has the ability to kind of mimic, if you will, their defense. And our offense certainly is very similar.”
Tuesday was the most revealing day of fall camp. Here are some other important storylines that came from it.
Starting Quarterback Deadline
Miles said he will have a decision made at quarterback before the day of the season opener. But chances are he will only tell the quarterbacks, not tell the media.
"We'll tell the starter probably that Thursday (Aug. 28th) when we put together the final list of starters," Miles said, per Glenn Guilbeau of The Daily Advertiser.
Miles also said sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris have yet to emerge as the better of the two, though he thought they both performed at a "high level of execution."
There is no telling what Miles and the coaching staff will do. Harris is more gifted, yet he has not been able push himself ahead of Jennings. Expect both to play.
Thomas Is Back, Valentine Cleared
LSU defensive tackle Quentin Thomas participated in full-contact drills for the first time since early August. Miles said Thomas is not quite back at full strength but showed he can still make plays, according to Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune.
Thomas' improved health is great news for the Tigers. They could have survived without him, but his experience and disruptiveness makes the defensive line better.
LSU's good fortune at defensive tackle continued when 4-star incoming freshman Travonte Valentine was cleared to play, per his Twitter account.
Valentine had to take summer courses to meet the academic qualifications from NCAA Clearinghouse, but he is not completely in the clear yet. Miles says it will take a couple more days before he can step onto campus.
Defensive line coach Brick Haley said he must first see if Valentine is game shape before he puts him on the field.
"Hopefully he’s going to be in really good condition. If he’s not, he’s going to be behind. That’s normally the reason why guys don’t start as true freshmen. They do get behind and they have a lot to learn and it’s a lot on their bodies. But you can always get a young guy to come in and give you valuable minutes to rest some of those other guys," said Haley, per Shea Dixon of Geaux247.com.
Valentine does add depth to a unit filled with uncertainty, but do not expect to see him on the field anytime soon. The Tigers are fine for now with the likes of Thomas, Christian LaCouture, Frank Herron, Greg Gilmore and Maquedius Bain.
There is a chance Valentine could be part of the rotation later in the season, especially on goal-line and short-yardage situations that require extra big bodies on the field.
Receivers Get a Boost from Freshmen
LSU 5-star incoming freshman Malachi Dupre did not participate in last Saturday's scrimmage, but he returned on Tuesday. Dupre caught a few passes, as he and fellow freshman Trey Quinn impressed Miles.
"He's (Dupre) beyond what was an early injury. He's really just getting back to health now, and I think he'll maintain this opportunity to play from this point forward," said Miles, per Guilbeau. "Trey Quinn caught a couple of balls. All in all, it was a pretty decent offensive outing."
Dupre and Quinn will certainly be in the mix, which was expected. They are two of the best receiving prospects Miles has ever brought to Baton Rouge. Outside of leading receiving returnee Travin Dural, playing time is still up for grabs in the receiving corps.
Fall Camp Schedule
Expect Miles to implement more of the game plan for Wisconsin as the week goes along.
LSU will do a walk-through on Wednesday afternoon to allow themselves to recover from Tuesday's 120-play scrimmage. Usually in practices such as these, coaches work on the specifics of certain plays and upcoming opponents.
Here is LSU's schedule for the rest of the week, via Ross Dellenger of The Advocate.
- Wednesday, Aug. 20 4 p.m. Walk-through
- Thursday, Aug. 21 4:35 p.m. Practice
- Friday, Aug. 22 4:30 p.m. Practice
- Saturday, Aug. 23 10:35 a.m. Practice
- Monday, Aug. 25 First day of school