Just prior to the start of LSU Spring practice, I sat down with Head Coach Les Miles to talk about his Fighting Tigers.
The Bayou Bengals crank things up on Thursday with the first of 15 practices, which will culminate with the Spring Game Saturday April 20 at 2:00 p.m. in Death Valley.
In his evaluation from last season to now, Coach Miles talked about some of the things he wants to accomplish in the next 15 days of practice.
"Developing the team, the depth, the mindset of a very, very strong football team....Look for some young guys to improve, find out who the elite players are, and find ways to get them to make plays for us.
I asked Coach if it would it be fair to say that this is the time of year, maybe you see some guys who, for whatever reason, didn't get a lot of playing time last year, if this is now the time for those players to step up.
"I think we're fortunate. I think that young guys who come to school here really do that with the anticipation that they'll get an opportunity to play," Miles told me. "I think there's some young guys in the perimeter right now that are looking forward to playing a lot of spring football to identify, maybe for the first time, that they can be a starter and a dominant player in our conference."
Click HERE to listen to my entire interview with Coach Les Miles...
I asked Coach Miles just how physical it actually gets in Spring Practice.
"The reality is, they never really kill a guy like they could in the fall...Sometimes in the fall of the year, the contacts are much more significant. But, we do hit, and we want to develop a physical component of our team. I think if somebody says we're the most physical team they've played, I think that's a compliment to us...and I think that will continue."
Coach Miles also agreed that the Spring Practice time is when leaders emerge on a team.
"Absolutely. In fact, we've invited, by vote, by position, guys who must step up and lead...Our team has always been led by quality, quality men that have decided to pay a tremendous price to play LSU football. Really, just yesterday, we assembled that room for the first time in the seating chart, in the right order, where the leaders sit. And it looked like a pretty strong room."
As for the adjustment to newly-hired Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, a guy who's well-known and respected, Coach Miles says it's gone great.
"He's been a lot of fun. I think our staff and players really enjoy that he's a part of us. He's transition's been very smooth, and I just know there's going to be a great effect on our offense."
When I asked if there was one position where LSU needs to build some depth, Miles responded by saying there are actually two areas that he's focusing on.
"We're going to need a quality group in the secondary. There will be some quality safeties there that can step forward and play...but they need to have that style of spring. And, our offensive line...we're moving guys around. Those two spots really need to mature...and I think they will. They're good young players."