LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is showing signs of frustration with the development of the passing game during the first half of spring practice.
Cameron is breaking in three new quarterbacks - sophomore Anthony Jennings, who has a total of five quarters of significant experience, redshirt freshman Hayden Rettig and early-enrollee Brandon Harris. Their progress is proceeding at a slow pace.
What compounds the problem is a lack of experienced wide receivers. In reality, there are few healthy scholarship wide receivers available at this time. At Thursday's practice, Travin Dural and Quantavius Leslie were the lone scholarship receivers who participated in every drill.
Tigers coach Les Miles admitted there is a shortage of wide receivers. But, he quickly said that a solution is on the way.
"I am looking forward to having those four scholarship receivers coming in," said Miles at his post-practice press conference Thursday night. "These things happen every year. It can happen at a guard spot or it can happen at a wide receiver spot. It gets better in the fall."
The four incoming wide receivers are D.J. Chark from Alexandria (La.), Malachi Dupre from River Ridge (La.) Curtis, Trey Quinn from Lake Charles (La.) Barbe and Tony Upchurch from Pearland (Tex.) Dawson. Dupre and Quinn are ranked among the top ten high school wide receivers in the country.
Dural is the only returning wide receiver with any significant experience. He was fourth in the rotation last season behind Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Kadron Boone. John Diarse was redshirted after suffering an injury in August. Diarse missed practice Thursday.
"Diarse had a small procedure," Miles said. "He will not be back Saturday, but maybe by Tuesday next week. When John gets back, we'll have a pretty good group of guys. But, all four of those guys coming in have a chance to compete right away. We have to pick up our route-running and catching."
LSU had a partial scrimmage last Saturday in which the defense reportedly outplayed the offense. Miles acknowledged the defense holds the upper hand right now. He indicated the defensive line is coming along quite nicely.
"The defense is doing very well," Miles said. "They are ahead of the offense right now. The guys up front are playing well. They are holding their own against the offensive line. Christian LaCouture looks veteran. Guys like (Maquedius) Bain, (Frank) Herron and Q(unetin) Thomas are steadily improving."
Miles stressed that the veteran offensive line is performing well. New offensive line coach Jeff Grimes makes fundamentals a priority for the players.
"Jeff pays more attention to detail in technique," Miles said. "Our guys are responding to it. They are in position to do that since they are a veteran group. All they need to do are make adjustments (in their technique). Jeff is coming in at the right time for them."
The Tigers will have their first major scrimmage of the spring Saturday.
"The scrimmage will be a little longer than last week," Miles said. "It will be some live scrimmaging (tackle to the ground) and some thud (no tackling to the ground).
"Last week, we did first-and-ten plays. This week, we'll do third-and-short, third-and-four, five, six, seven. We will have plays where you need to have a pass rush. We want to put the passing game under pressure."