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Monday, March 26, 2012
Reviewing the weekend scrimmages

By Chris Low

Here's a quick recap of some of the scrimmages over the weekend:

VANDERBILT

Second-year coach James Franklin thinks the Commodores are "light years ahead" of where they were this time a year ago because they're more confident in what they're doing from an installation standpoint.

It looks like a couple of position moves are already paying off for Vanderbilt. Former quarterbacks Kris Kentera and Josh Grady both made their share of big plays -- Kentera at H-back and Grady at receiver. Kentera had catches of 48 and 24 yards. Grady had a diving catch that resulted in a first down.

There were no touchdowns scored in the scrimmage, which was the Commodores' first of the spring, but the offense was able to move the ball.

One of the more underrated defenders in the league last season was defensive end Tim Fugger. Now that he's gone, the Commodores need a finisher to emerge. Junior Walker May looks like he might be the guy. Franklin has been impressed with the way May has worked in the offseason, and the same goes for junior safety Kenny Ladler. The other guy who made his presence felt on defense in Saturday's scrimmage was sophomore tackle Barron Dixon, who had a couple of sacks.

Here's a report on the scrimmage from Vanderbilt's official web site.

SOUTH CAROLINA

The Gamecocks held their first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, and it didn't take their defensive line long to assert itself. Sophomore end Jadeveon Clowney was a force and wrecked several plays. Another good sign for the Gamecocks was how active sophomore tackle Kelcy Quarles was in the scrimmage. Similar to what they did last year with Melvin Ingram, the Gamecocks moved Clowney inside some on passing situations, and he routinely was able to get pressure.

Connor Shaw threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Brent. South Carolina, which is looking for receiving help now that Alshon Jeffery is gone, was down a couple of receivers for the scrimmage. Damiere Byrd was running track. Shamier Jeffery, Alshon's younger brother, sat out the scrimmage after twisting his knee Friday in practice.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said that senior tailback Kenny Miles would be back with the team next season. Miles, one of Marcus Lattimore's backups, had been contemplating a transfer. Also, Bruce Ellington was at the scrimmage, but has yet to decide whether he will play football or basketball next season. There's a chance he will try to play both again.

For a report on South Carolina's scrimmage, go to the Gamecocks' official website.

LSU

Junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger continued his strong spring by completing 16 of 27 passes for 177 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

"We threw the ball pretty well," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We had really good balance. I think we're competing in the passing game very well. I think Mettenberger's a real leader there and enjoys his role."

Miles also liked the Tigers' balance on offense in Saturday's closed scrimmage. He said they rushed for 287 yards and passed for 278 yards. Spencer Ware led all rushers with 90 yards on 12 carries, but freshman Jeremy Hill also had an impressive outing with 56 yards on 10 carries. Miles said he would still like to see Hill lose a little weight, but added that he thought Hill would be ready in the fall and doesn't anticipate the freshman redshirting.

Junior Michael Ford, who led LSU in rushing last season with 756 yards, has a minor knee injury and will be held out the remainder of the spring. The Tigers will play their spring game this coming Saturday.

Miles said the way LSU ran the ball was more a reflection of the Tigers' strength at running back than anything they didn't do on defense. Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and linebacker Tahj Jones sat out the scrimmage.

LSU's official website has a report on Saturday's scrimmage.