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March 24, 2012
Offense has its day
LSU won the 2011 Southeastern Conference championship and advanced to the national title game on the strength of its defense and special teams.
The Tigers should have another productive defense and solid special teams as they attempt to repeat as SEC champions. Therefore, it was encouraging for everyone associated with the LSU football program to watch what the offense did in Saturday's scrimmage.
In statistics released by LSU, the Tigers ran for 287 yards and passed for another 278 yards. Junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger was the star of the scrimmage as he completed 16 of 25 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
"I think we are competing in the passing game very well," said coach Les Miles at his post-scrimmage press conference. "Zach is a real leader for us and he enjoys that role. I thought we ran the football and threw the ball pretty well."
No. 2 quarterback redshirt freshman Stephen Rivers was 6-of-12 for 60 yards and one touchdown. LSU reported the receiver on just one touchdown pass - senior tight end Chase Clement on a throw from Mettenberger.
The top receivers were sophomore Odell Beckham, who had five catches for 50 yards, and sophomore Jarvis Landry, who had three receptions for 50 yards. The Tigers' four healthy tailbacks all averaged more than 4½ yards per attempt in the scrimmage.
Junior Spencer Ware was the No. 1 ground-gainer with 90 yards on 12 carries. Junior Alfred Blue picked up 67 yards on ten attempts. Sophomore Kenny Hilliard accounted for 60 yards and 13 carries, while freshman Jeremy Hill contributed 56 yards on ten tries.
"We ran the football hard and we were physical," Miles said. "We had a couple of pre-snap penalties that we have to get eliminated. Some of those were by veteran guys, which is frustrating. We have to get that corrected."
Miles stressed that the defense shouldn't be criticized for the effective running game.
"The 287 rushing yards were not an indication as to how the defense played, but more of an indication that we have good running backs," Miles said. "Our defensive front is playing well. We had at least six sacks which would have made it difficult for the offense to be able to continue drives with a first down."
The Saturday scrimmage consisted of more than 100 plays among the top three units as well as snaps pertaining to all phases of special teams. LSU will practice Tuesday and Thursday before holding its spring game next Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
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