Les Miles talks QBs, addresses LSU's other spring position battles

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Les Miles had plenty to say about his team's multiple position battles after Saturday's first full-length scrimmage of the spring.

The Tigers focused on the passing game and Miles seemed pleased by what he saw, noting that "I don't know that we've had a scrimmage that we had three quarterbacks play as well as they have today."

Here is more of what Miles had to say about the quarterbacks and other standouts at some of the Tigers' open positions:

Quarterback: Miles said the quarterbacks were live in the scrimmage -- meaning the defensive players could tackle them -- and that incumbent Brandon Harris and backups Danny Etling and Justin McMillan all threw the ball well.

Miles said Harris went 16-for-20 for 246 yards, Etling went 14-for-18 for 220 yards and McMillan went 11-for-14 for 226 yards in the scrimmage, which spanned more than 100 plays.

"If our quarterbacks maintain poise, continue to play like they're playing, let playmakers make plays, extend plays with their feet, we'll be a really good offense," Miles said.

Miles said the second-team offense passed on nearly every down and that the Tigers rotated quarterbacks with both the first- and second-team offenses on a windy afternoon in Tiger Stadium.

Offensive line: Sophomore Maea Teuhema still looks like the leading contender at left tackle, although Miles said he has "a ways to go" in making the transition from guard to tackle.

"I think he has all the talent in the world, so he'll have the opportunity to make that transition we would think," Miles said. "And if he doesn't, we think that K.J. Malone's looked pretty athletic out there as well."

Miles said redshirt freshman Chidi Okeke is likely the Tigers' most athletic left tackle candidate, but that he is still struggling to learn LSU's cadences. The native Nigerian has played football for only a few years, so Miles has said the Tigers' coaches are remaining patient as he learns the finer points of the game.

"It just takes some time," Miles said. "He is probably the most athletic, but not necessarily as seasoned as some of the other guys."

Malone and Teuhema were among the linemen Miles singled out for their play this spring along with center Andy Dodd, guard Will Clapp and right tackle Toby Weathersby. However, a guard who lost his starting spot to Teuhema early in the 2015 season drew particular praise from the Tigers' coach.

"Maybe the guy that has had as quality a start at spring is Josh Boutte," Miles said. "If he gets it right, physically he's just as capable as anyone we've ever had. He would remind you of the best and the biggest guards that we've had."

Linebacker: Early enrollee Devin White continues to draw raves from LSU's coaches. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has singled him out recently and Miles has brought up the freshman multiple times in post-practice news conferences.

He did so again on Saturday, noting that White led the defense in tackles.

"He played linebacker, first of all, in high school so he has a natural instinct," Miles said. "He gets up in it and [is] pretty special. He's going to be an every-down player very quickly."

Miles added that converted safety Corey Thompson has a chance to make an impact at outside linebacker if he can stay healthy and that standup defensive end/outside linebackers Arden Key and Tashawn Bower are excelling in their new roles in Aranda's scheme.

"Both of those guys are fast to the ball. It's a very interesting group," Miles said. "Those guys are playing as well standing up as they did with their hands on the ground."

Wide receiver: Junior Malachi Dupre led the Tigers with 80 receiving yards -- not a surprise -- but some of the other pass-catchers Miles mentioned haven't made much of an impact yet.

Miles said redshirt freshman Derrick Dillon caught a 50-yard touchdown pass and that little-used tight end Jacory Washington also hauled in a scoring pass.

He also noted that converted defensive back Russell Gage has had a strong spring.

"Russell Gage has just shown real quality ball skills and make-you-miss and competitiveness, so I like him," Miles said.

Running back: LSU did not utilize star running back Leonard Fournette much in the scrimmage, instead handing off mostly to sophomore Derrius Guice and junior Darrel Williams. Miles said that Guice ran 14 times for 73 yards and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass and that Williams ran 12 times for 54 yards.

Of Guice, Miles said, "He's a talented back and a guy that can catch the ball out of the backfield as well as run it. So we wanted to limit Leonard's reps and it just gave Derrius a chance to make plays."