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July 30, 2014
Miles in no hurry to determine starting QB
When LSU opens fall drills in six days expect the team's top two quarterbacks to be working apart from one another.
In keeping with his annual tradition of speaking to the Baton Rouge Rotary Club before the start of falls workouts, LSU football coach Les Miles said it will be beneficial having Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris working out at different times of the day.
More than likely that means Jennings, a sophomore, would work with the veterans while Harris, a true freshman, would take his snaps with the newcomers.
"I think splitting them up gives them the best amount of reps they could have," Miles said to the media afterward. "We want to tax them, not only physically but mentally early and then put the team together. They should be comfortable (by then)."
Breakdown: LSU first time starters
Miles told a jammed-packed room of 400 Rotarians he understood the interest in the looming quarterback derby but that eventually settling on a starter is best served over time.
LSU opens the season Aug. 30 against Wisconsin at NRG Stadium in Houston.
"I think you'll look forward to seeing competition between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris," Miles said. "I will not make a decision quickly. I'm going to let this thing play out. Competition is the true determinant of play. I like both guys. I think we'll be talented enough.
"I think Anthony Jennings has experience and recognizes the opportunity he has," Miles said. "He is a talented player in his own right. I think Brandon Harris is a very talented player, maybe a little bit more naturally talented. The competition is going to be very telling."
Miles acknowledged the strength of the offense - a veteran offensive line led by preseason All-SEC selection La'El Collins - that should be able to protect whichever quarterback gets the starting job.
He also believes they'll create ample running lanes for a stable of runners that features seniors Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard.
"We should be able to run the football," he said.
LB McGinnis helped his cause at LSU camp
Miles didn't belabor the point and introduced much publicized running back Leonard Fournette into the conversation, saying the prep All-American has done everything asked of him this summer and stressed patience with his development.
"Here's what we're not going to do, we're not going to insist he's all that tomorrow," Miles said. "We're going to insist on doing what he's been doing. He's going to get two 'A's' in summer classes, he's going to focus on the things we're going to insist he do a little at a time.
"He's going to work with purpose," Miles said. "He's going to come to practice and he's going to listen and learn the offense. If he does that he's going to play very significant football. He does not have to be all-world tomorrow. Just by the first game. That's all."
Sophomore Travin Dural and redshirt freshman John Diarse represent two of the team's more experienced receivers, having spent at least a year in the program, while incoming freshmen Malachi Dupre, D.J. Chark and Trey Quinn are expected to get on the field this season.
"I think we're going to be youthful there, but I think we're going to be more talented than we've been in quite some time," Miles said.
Senior Jermauria Rasco and junior Danielle Hunter will anchor LSU's front four with junior Quentin Thomas and sophomore Christian LaCouture ticketed for expanded roles this season.
Senior D.J. Welter, the team's leading returning tackler, leads a linebacker group that Miles said, "maybe the fastest group we've ever had."
Sophomores Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson give LSU as talented a pair of cornerbacks as there are in the league and with suspended junior Jalen Mills' status still in limbo, Miles expects Corey Thompson and Rickey Jefferson to man the vacated safety position.
Miles was also very high on the arrival of freshmen John Battle, who added 10 pounds over the summer, and Jamal Adams to bolster that spot.
2016 Destrehan DT Logan will be a regular in Tiger Stadium this season
"I recognize that we're a youthful team," Miles said. "I recognize there's some veterans and some insistence that the culture we've created is continued. We're going to work hard.
"We're going to put team in front of self," Miles said. "We're going to improve incrementally each day and certainly each week as we go forward. If we do that, I like us. I like us every game and I always have. That's not going to change."
NOTES: In meeting with media afterward Miles said there's been little movement in the case of Mills, who remains suspended after a second-degree battery charge. "I'm told everything looks pretty positive," he said. "It's a very unfortunate situation. Somebody came to his apartment and pursued him. Again, it's certainly unfortunate on both ends. We'll have to see how it turns out." Miles indicated that freshman defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao of San Antonio, who suffered a lacerated arm after punching a window and received a recent citation for stealing a bicycle, probably "would not" play this year. Miles said Fournette was either the fastest or second fastest player on the team. The fastest? Freshman wide receiver D.J. Chark. Miles said the decision on who will wear No. 18 this fall had been made but wouldn't divulge the player. "I know the guy," he said. "It would be inappropriate for the coach not to tell his team first." Miles, who answered questions from the audience, said he liked the athleticism and experience junior walk-on quarterback Jared Foster brings to the team. "He's really a lot stronger, more capable athlete than we had him as a true freshman," Miles said. "He's a guy that can step on the field. We're really looking at some of the athletic things that he does. We're going to have a look-see. Hopefully it will work out. I love his attitude."