- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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The pads went on in Baton Rouge, La., as LSU's football team participated in its fourth spring practice Tuesday.
“I liked practice today,” coach Les Miles said. “We are getting better. I like the improvement that some of our young offense and defensive linemen are making. I think we threw the ball extremely well today considering how early we are in spring. It was a good, physical practice. We started well and finished on a good note.”
The guy throwing the ball the best this spring is new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger. So far, he has really impressed his head coach with both his passing ability and his leadership skills. That's certainly a good thing, considering how much both of those areas were criticized when Jordan Jefferson was under center for the Tigers last season.
“He has command of the huddle and it appears that he has anticipation as to where the ball is going,” Miles said. “He’s throwing it pretty well.”
Miles also complimented the play of sophomore offensive lineman Elliott Porter, who worked out at center.
“I liked the way he practiced today,” Miles said. “He got better today and he continues to improve. I think he will challenge for playing time.”
The Tigers return a solid, veteran line in 2012, but it never hurts to have depth up front. Depth helped LSU out in 2011 when top lineman Josh Dworaczyk went down with a season-ending injury last year. T-Bob Hebert started the season off in Dworaczyk's spot at left guard, but Will Blackwell eventually moved there and had an All-American season.
LSU also moved pieces around when center P.J. Lonergan went down with an ankle injury halfway through the season. LSU had seven different offensive linemen make starts last season.
Miles also talked about the on-going tryout at kicker, where former LSU women’s soccer keeper Mo Isom stole all the headlines. Miles said there isn't a timetable on making a decision about the kicking participants, including Isom, but he won't hesitate to use her if he feels she can be a real asset for the Tigers.
“If she gave us an opportunity and an advantage, we will certainly consider that,” he said. “There has to be an advantage to the team.
"The good thing about this is that she’s an athlete. She’s been through a team before and she understands commitment. I would have much less reservations with her than I would with any number of other people who frankly didn’t know what they were getting in to.”
If she makes LSU's team, she would be the first female football player in school history. However, she'd have some tough competition this fall with rising senior Drew Alleman returning. He is coming off the most accurate season by an LSU kicker in school history, after hitting 16-of-18 field goals and 62-of-63 extra points in 2011.
The tryouts for placekicker will continue Thursday. For more information on Isom and her tryout with the Tigers, check out what GeauxTigerNation's David Helman wrote about her Tuesday.
LSU will take Wednesday off before returning to practice on Thursday. The Tigers will wrap up their first full week of spring practice Saturday and are scheduled to practice three times a week for the next three weeks.