LSU’s much maligned offense had a nice weekend against the defense in a scrimmage.
Tiger freshman running back Jeremy Hill received high praise from LSU head coach Les Miles.
“If he loses a little bit of weight, he’ll be a very talented football player,” Miles said.
“I can’t imagine we’d think about redshirting him. He’s big, strong and talented. I think he’ll be ready.”
If Hill (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) still has some work to do to get into playing shape, it could be attributed to the fact that he sat out the 2011 season after being unable to sign with LSU because of legal issues.
A newly slimmed down Spencer Ware led the running backs with 12 carries for 90 yards, Miles said. He said junior Alfred Blue had 10 carries for 67 yards and sophomore Kenny Hilliard had 13 for 60.
Overall, LSU rushed for 287 yards (not including yards lost on six sacks), and this without Ford.
The junior-to-be – LSU’s leading rusher in 2011 with 756 yards and seven touchdowns — is expected to ready again in the fall, Miles said.
The scrimmage was closed to the media, and complete stats were not provided.
Miles said LSU passed for 278 yards as well. Junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger, the projected starter this fall, completed 16-of-25 passes for 177 yards and three TDs, including one to tight end Chase Clement.
Redshirt freshman Stephen Rivers, who Miles continues to list as Mettenberger’s backup, was 6-of-12 for 60 yards. Miles didn’t give stats for LSU’s other redshirt freshman, Jerrard Randall.
Odell Beckham Jr. caught five passes for 50 yards, Miles said, while Jarvis Landry caught three for 50.
“I thought we ran the football hard,” Saturday, Miles said. “I thought we were physical.
“We still had a couple of pre-snap penalties that’s significant in spring and have to be eliminated. It’s veteran guys doing it too, which is more frustrating.”
In addition to Ford, cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (ankle), linebacker Tahj Jones, center P.J. Lonergan and wide receiver Kadron Boone (shoulder) also missed the scrimmage. Boone will also not finish the spring, Miles said.
With Mathieu out, redshirt freshmen Micah Eugene and Jalen Collins got to get extensive playing time. Same at linebacker in Jones’ place for freshmen Ronnie Feist and Lamar Louis, both of whom were among LSU’s five early enrollees this spring.
Meanwhile Reid Ferguson, another of LSU’s early enrollees, has taken over the No. 1 spot at deep snapper, Miles said. Ferguson’s development has been key since LSU lost its two senior snappers from last year: Joey Crappell and Alex Russian.
LSU has pulled even with Auburn in the recruiting pursuit of Montgomery (Ala.) Carver quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6-5, 210), according to TigerSportsDigest.com. Johnson was offered by LSU during Feb. 4 Junior Day and returned Saturday to observe the Tigers’ scrimmage.
Johnson ranks No. 213 on the Scout 300 and is on the ESPNU 150 Watch List.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Times reports LSU has offered Class of 2014 quarterback prospect Chase Litton (6-5, 190) of Tampa (Fla.) Wharton.
Litton will attend the LSU Spring Game, according to Scout.com. The Tampa Bay Times says LSU is Litton’s first offer.
Litton is the teammate of 2013 cornerback prospect Vernon Hargreaves (5-11, 181), who is ranked No. 6 on the Scout 300 and No. 10 on the Rivals 100. Hargreaves also has an offer from LSU.
Miles spoke publicly Saturday for the first time about LSU’s two post-signing day 2012 signees: punter Jamie Keehn of Melbourne, Australia and offensive lineman Fehoko Fanaika from the College of San Mateo (Calif.).
Miles said Keehn is 22 years old and is 6-4, 210 pounds. Fanaika could play either tackle or guard but may redshirt this fall, Miles said.
Keehn and Fanaika give LSU 24 signees for 2012.