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LSU 2016 Spring Game highlights

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BATON ROUGE -- The LSU football team wrapped up its spring drills on Saturday, as the Purple squad won the 2016 National L Club Spring Game presented by Tony Chachere's, 17-7, in Tiger Stadium.

Though the competitive balance was swayed in favor of Purple -- maintaining possession for the entire first half -- both the first and second teams had a chance to show off their skills to the Tigers faithful in a lively scrimmage.

Quarterback Brandon Harris completed 11-of-16 passes for 106 yards, while backup Danny Etling was 6-of-11 for 106 yards including a 70-yard touchdown pass to recent enrollee Dee Anderson.

Running back Leonard Fournette had eight carries for 49 yards, while his younger brother Lanard Fournette added six touches for 31 net yards. The elder Fournette had a 2-yard touchdown run for Purple at the end of the first quarter to put the side ahead, 10-0.

LSU used six quarterbacks in the scrimmage, includingJustin McMillan (6-of-13, 70 yards); Trey LaForge (0-2),Caleb Lewis (0-2) and Spencer Landry.

The Tigers defense under first-year coordinator Dave Aranda showed off a variety of blitzes and picked up eight quarterback "sacks" - quarterbacks wore gold "no-contact" jerseys.

Safety Dwayne Thomas led the defense with eight tackles and two sacks, while tackle Davon Godchauxand safety Xavier Lewis eachs were credited with two sacks. 

Freshman cornerback Saivion Smith intercepted a long pass by Harris, and defensive end Isaiah Washington snagged a short toss by Etling early in the contest.

LSU returns to action on Sept. 3, 2016, when the Tigers travel to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc., to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. 

HEAD COACH LES MILES

Opening statement…
“I certainly enjoyed the game. No one was injured, and there were some good plays made by a host of our guys. Leonard (Fournette) averaged six yards a carry. Malachi (Dupre), in my opinion, made something out of some very short passes. I like Dee Anderson’s reception for a touchdown. He’s a guy who really has the potential to make big plays in big games. I like Trent Domingue. Trent kicks a 42-yard field goal and our punter (Josh Growden) looks like he will be able to step into Tiger Stadium and kick it. We’ve given a lot of time to the passing game. I think we’re improved and I like where are quarterbacks are… We’re improving there, and I like the path we’re on. Defensively, we put in a nice base. I think our defense knows kind of what to expect out of the calls. We’re now in a position where we add some bells and whistles to the defense. Obviously, we moved a lot of things we do offensively, defensively and on special teams before the game, so we didn’t give a tremendous hint to our opponents. I like us; I like our spring practice as a whole, and even though the game is not a game, we got functional work with ones versus ones to start. That will be some film that we have not had in several years here, and I look forward to see how our first teams played against each other.”

On the new coaches and new schemes and how the team has settled in…
“I think we’re in a good position. I think you’ll see the scheme of the defense continue to take off. You had to put some time in 15 practices to get a real quality base, and I think we did that.”

On freshmen Michael Divinity and Devin White contributing at linebacker…
“It’s really nice to see young guys come in and play with some real skill and ability to give the coaching staff expectations that they can step on the field and help us in big games. Both of those guys have shown that throughout the spring.

On his biggest takeaway from the spring…
“I like how we improved as a group. I don’t take lightly that Trent Domingue steps in to Tiger Stadium and kicks a 42-yard field goal. Minus a game, the heat was on; the offense just had a nice drive, and I enjoyed that. I think our specialists are better and our kickers are better on kickoffs, punts and field goals. I think we’re improved there. Defensively, I like where the spot is with what we have in. We have a nice platform and foundation that should allow us to make change. We’ve given time to the passing game, and I think it shows. That’s kind of my thought process.

LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES

QB Brandon Harris

On how he felt he performed today…
“Overall I thought I did a good job. I mean it’s tough when you’re out there in a yellow jersey. Overall, I’m really pleased with how we came out of this last scrimmage. I thought we did some great things and made some large strides in comparison to last spring.”

On how he feels about his wide receivers…
“I love those guys, love them to death. I’ll keep raving about this guy but Coach (Dameyune) Craig has come in with a mindset, and I think everyone is buying into that mindset. He’s a guy who is very tough on our receivers, and he’s also tough on me. It’s not just him, Coach Cam (Cameron) is tough on me as well.”

On how much more comfortable he is at this point in his career…
“We’ve had four scrimmages up to this point, and I feel like I have managed them well. Sometimes scrimmages focus on 3rd-down or redzone passing but today had more of a game atmosphere to it and I thought I handled it well.”

WR Malachi Dupre

His feelings on if he thinks they have found a balance between the running and passing game…
“I mean we have a lot of guys who can make plays out of the backfield, but we feel the same way about ourselves in the receiver room. I feel the shorter, quick passes we’re able to complete, the less pressure we will be putting on our running game. Doing those things will also open up the deep-passing game for us as well.”

On how much the screen-game has been implemented this spring…
“I know that Coach Craig came from an offense with a lot of options, and I feel that he has come in and helped us a lot. I feel that by the time the season comes around, our offense will be deadly in every aspect. I’m just ready to continue working and getting better every day.”

On what aspect of his game has improved the most from new WR coach Dameyune Craig…
“I think the biggest thing he has helped me with is understanding the quarterback’s perspective of things. He was a quarterback himself, so he knows what quarterbacks want to see. He also knows how to make it easier on us to be able to catch more balls.”
Running back Derrius Guice

On how he feels about the entire running back corps as a whole…
“Me being with great guys like them (Leonard Fournette and Darrel Williams), we can do anything we set our minds to. At this point, it’s really just up to us to play well.”

On if he feels the team has any momentum going into summer ball..
“I feel like we had a lot of our momentum from the Texas Tech game. We kind of had momentum going into the spring this entire time.”

RB Leonard Fournette

On being the best …
“It feels great but it’s not just me. My teammates are working hard each and every day. There are all these other people on the field sweating, putting in hard work, and challenging themselves. It’s all about the team.”

On the season opener …
“We played against them my freshman year and it was a tough game. Just because they are a Big Ten team doesn’t mean they’re some pushovers. I’m just ready for the season to start, that’s all.”

On three different fullbacks …
“I think J.D. Moore is doing a tremendous job by helping the young quarterbacks we have. Overall, we are trying to do one thing and that’s following each other’s footsteps. If one goes down, the second one is going to do the exact same thing as the other one in the first quarter.”

QB Danny Etling

On coming in after sitting out a year …
“I feel great. I think that we are going in a positive direction. Personally, I think I’m a lot more comfortable with the offense and comfortable with the players and everything like that. It’s been a good spring for us and I think we are going to keep building on it in the summer.”

On opening up the offense …
“I think we are trying to open things up a little bit and try to get moving but we are still going to try and get the playmakers the ball and I think there are a lot of different ways to do that. I think Coach (Cam) Cameron is doing a great job at it.”

On personal play …
“I’m getting a lot more comfortable. There are a couple of little timing things here and there and it’s always tough when you are still getting out there and getting used to guys but other than that and a couple of plays I’d like to have back, I thought there was a lot to build off of and just keep going on.”

LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES

LB Kendell Beckwith

On the defense’s performance this spring …
“I feel like we improved. It’s a new defense and we’re accepting the challenge. I think overall we have improved and worked to get better and better. We tried to learn the plays and grow as a defense. I think we did a good job of that.”

On the difficulties of learning a new defensive scheme …
“I’d say the hardest part is the terminology. Coach (Dave) Aranda does a great job. He doesn’t make things too complicated for us. He knows it’s new. The terminology was different for us, but once we got a hang of that we were rolling.”

DT Davon Godchaux

On the team’s knowledge of the new defense …
“We know all of (the defense) that we put in. We didn’t run a lot of it today because it’s the Spring Game. Coach (Ed) Orgeron does a great job of walking through things with us.”

On adjusting to the nose tackle position…
“(The adjustment) is pretty good. You can get a good get-off against much slower guys at the center position. I get to use my quickness a lot and get off the ball.”

On playing for Coach Aranda…
“(Aranda) has swagger. He is cool and laid-back and he’s a really good coach. Things are going to go well this season.”

DT Christian LaCouture

On learning Coach Aranda’s defensive scheme …
“For us we have to master one day at a time. We have a break now with summer conditioning. I feel like if we go out and master what Coach Aranda is installing for us. When we start going the length of the field we can really nail it down.”

S Jamal Adams

On what the biggest takeaway from the spring game was…
“I feel like we were very poised and in control on both sides of the ball. We started off slow but I think we finished strong. We weren’t looking to do anything outrageous or crazy. We just went out there to play as a team. The sky is the limit for this team and we’re going to regroup and battle throughout the summer and into the fall.”

On injuries during the spring, notably Rickey Jefferson’s injury…
“Injuries happen, that's why we have depth. Saivion (Smith) stepped right in and filled that roll quickly. It was a missing heartbeat to us, but we regrouped and we battled.”

On the offense’s performance…
“They’re doing outstanding as far as communicating and scheming against us. They’re a group that has to have confidence. Once they have confidence I think they can do amazing things.”

CB Tre’Davious White

On team’s play this spring…
“The spring game was great. We got a lot accomplished this spring and we’re looking forward to the offseason. We already know the goal and that's a championship.”

On how the offense looked…
“I feel like the offense as a whole has improved a lot. Both of the guys did great. The passing game showed so much improvement in the spring. They gave us a tough battle with us being “DBU”. They definitely challenged us especially with the new guys coming along like Dee Anderson and Stephen Sullivan.”

On the injury to Rickey Jefferson and how the other defensive backs stepped up…
“I feel like everybody did well. It just shows the versatility we have in the defensive backfield. Everybody can play every position and everybody knows every position.”

2016 LSU Football Spring Awards

Alvin Roy Fourth Quarter Award
(Outstanding performance in LSU Off-Season Program)
Jamal Adams, Lewis Neal, Tre'Davious White, Duke Riley, K.J. Malone, Rickey Jefferson, Danny Etling

Eric Andolsek Leadership Award
(Outstanding Leadership in Spring Drills- Offense)
Leonard Fournette

Mike Miley Leadership Award
(Outstanding Leadership in Spring Drills- Defense)
Tre'Davious White, Duke Riley

Toby Caston Performance Award
(Outstanding Performance in Spring Drills- Defense)
Davon Godchaux, Jamal Adams, Duke Riley, Lewis Neal

Ralph Norwood Performance Award
(Outstanding Performance in Spring Drills Offense)
Foster Moreau, Colin Jeter, D.J. Chark, Brandon Harris, Malachi Dupre

Most Improved Award
(Players who have made the most improvement during Spring Drills)
Corey Thompson, Josh Boutte, K.J. Malone, Maea Teuhema, Andy Dodd, Chidi Okeke, Arden Key

Jimmy Taylor Award
(The comprehensive Spring Award for Outstanding Leadership, Effort and Performance)
Derrius Guice, Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams, Davon Godchaux

Jerry Stovall Special Teams Award
Cameron Gamble, Josh Growden, Blake Ferguson

Newcomer Award
Michael Divinity Jr., Devin White, Saivion Smith, Dee Anderson, Danny Etling, Russell Gage, Lanard Fournette

Overcoming Adversity Award
J.D. Moore, Nick Brossette, John Battle, Ethan Pocic, Alex Cheramie

Coaches Award
Russell Gage, Tashawn Bower, Tre'Davious White, Kendell Beckwith, Lewis Neal, Arden Key, Jordan Harper, Caleb Lewis

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