BATON ROUGE - Quarterback Zach Mettenberger connected on 15-of-30 passes for 190 yards and two scores as top-ranked LSU went through its preseason scrimmage here Saturday indoors at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
Saturday's scrimmage, the first of three for the Tigers before the season opener, featured 80 snaps for the 1s and 2s and 25 plays for the 3s. LSU also spent time working different areas of special teams, including kickoff coverage and kickoff return as well as punt coverage and punt return.
LSU will take Sunday off before returning to practice on Monday when the team will have two workouts. LSU's next scrimmage is scheduled for Thursday in Tiger Stadium.
"The scrimmage is awfully important to the development of any team and I felt like we saw a lot of young guys in a bunch of different spots, and a new quarterback that's operating the business," Miles said following the workout. "We got a lot accomplished, but we are not ready to play a game. We were sloppy - we had two substitution penalties and several pass interferences. But, this is a perfect way to correct your team. This film will be studied by the players and coaches as we go forward."
Miles complimented the play of first-year starter Mettenberger, who threw a 55-yard TD pass to Odell Beckham Jr. and a 31-yard scoring pass to James Wright. Miles said that backup quarterback Stephen Rivers was 6-of-10 for 100 yards.
Jeremy Hill led all rushers with 71 yards on nine carries followed by Kenny Hilliard with 31 yards on eight attempts. Michael Ford ran for 30 yards.
"I enjoyed the rushers," Miles said. "I think Jeremy Hill made a couple of really nice moves and (Russell) Shepard took a couple of balls out of the backfield. We rushed the football pretty well. I thought we threw the ball better than we had (in previous practices). It was a good day, and a nice first scrimmage."
Beckham Jr. led all receivers with four catches for 101 yards, while James Wright hauled in four passes for 57 yards and Shepard four for 16 yards.
Defensively, junior cornerback Tharold Simon had a good all-around day with two tackles, one sack and an interception. Linebackers Lamin Barrow and Kevin Minter both had four tackles, while Sam Montgomery had a sack. Barrow also added a sack from the outside linebacker position.
"I thought there were some really good performances, but the reality of it is it was what we needed as a team," Miles said. "I like where we're at. I really do. I think there's energy here. I think we are progressing."
Saturday's scrimmage marked the first one without cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team on Friday.
"I just told them the truth," Miles said when asked about how the news was given to the team. "There was nobody in the (team meeting) room that was happy including me, but we understand that this team has to go on. We play a lot of good football teams. We don't need open wounds when we go off to play. We need to heal and get it right, and go play strong."
LSU opens its eighth-season under Miles on Saturday, Sept. 1 against North Texas in Tiger Stadium.
LSU Football Scrimmage
August 11, 2012
QUARTERBACK ZACH METTENBERGER
On the team's morale over the past 24 hours...
"It's bee great. We understand we lost a teammate in Tyrann [Mathieu] and a great playmaker. We're going to miss him a lot but we have to handle this adversity because this team is not a bad team even though we lost one of our best players. We're going to go out there and we're going to have the same goals and we're going to look to achieve all of them."
On his reaction to hearing about Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal...
"It's like having your brother kicked off the team. It's tough to go through. I've been there. We're praying for him. We know he's going to be fine, but at the same time, we just have to keep the ship on course and keep moving forward."
On the situation in Tyrann Mathieu's perspective...
"It's just one of those things. It's adversity you have to deal with in life. It's going to be a hard couple of months for Tyrann [Mathieu] - I've been there. But he's a very tough guy and he's going to get through it and I think he's going to come out on top."
On how his past problems relates to Tyrann Mathieu...
"You learn. Life is all about learning. I'm twenty-one years old but I still have a lot of life left to live. He's been through a lot. To have the persona that he had, it can be tough. But he's going to learn from this and I think he's going to make great strides and be a better person."
DEFENSIVE END BARKEVIOUS MINGO
On Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal...
"He was one of those players that took a lot of pressure off the front line. He will be missed - not just by the defense, but by the team as a whole. Now it's just looking for the next young player to come in and get the job done."
On the team's reaction when they learned about Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal...
"We were all sad for him. We love him as a brother. It's just one of those things that happens."
On what he thinks is best for Tyrann Mathieu...
"Find a new team and play however long he wants to and try and make the jump to the next level."
On the defense's reaction to hearing the news about Tyrann Mathieu...
"We just wanted to tell the guys in our room that he will be missed and it was a sad situation. But we must go on and we must lead this team. We're the oldest and most veteran in the building so we kind of take it upon ourselves as a defensive line to help this defense and help this team out."
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