Friday, March 29, 2013
LSU's Rasco has best outing of the spring
By Chris Low
Now that Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery are both pointing toward NFL careers, LSU needs to find some more pass-rushers.
Junior Jermauria Rasco has been waiting his turn, and he showed Thursday during the Tigers’ second scrimmage of the spring that he has everything it takes to be a force off the edge. Rasco led the defense with three sacks in his best outing of the spring.
Two of his sacks came during the two-minute drill against the No. 1 offense. His final sack came in a fourth-and-long situation, and would have sealed the deal had it been a real game.
“Rasco had a nice day. He continues to improve with practice,” said LSU coach Les Miles, adding that safety Craig Loston also had a big scrimmage.
Offensively, Miles was disappointed with some of the sloppy mistakes, in particular bobbled snaps, penalties and cadence issues. The Tigers are breaking in a new center. Junior Elliott Porter and freshman Ethan Pocic are getting most of the snaps at center, but senior Josh Williford is also working some there.
“I can tell you this, in the next six practices, we’ll get a lot of center-quarterback exchanges,” said Miles, who said the burden fell on both the centers and quarterbacks.
Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger again had solid passing numbers in the closed scrimmage. He finished 21-of-35 for 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception. LSU’s newest running back, Terrence Magee, had his second straight impressive scrimmage with 76 yards on seven carries, including an 11-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers like Magee’s speed. He played sparingly at receiver last season, but has shown this spring that he’s very comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield and gives them a speed option that will be important in Cam Cameron’s offense.
For more on LSU’s scrimmage, read here and here. The Tigers will be off next week for spring break. Their spring game is scheduled for April 20.
The Gamecocks ended their practice Thursday with a scrimmage that focused primarily on the younger players.
Freshman quarterback Connor Mitch was 9-of-11 for 78 yards and threw the game's only touchdown, a 5-yard pass to Shamier Jeffery -- the younger brother of former South Carolina star receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Coach Steve Spurrier wasn't thrilled with the way his offensive line played, and in vintage Spurrier fashion, delivered a few zingers. He got tired of seeing the defensive front-seven spending much of the scrimmage in the offensive backfield, although the Gamecocks' defensive line should be a load for anybody to block next season.
"The offensive line has got to learn how to block," Spurrier said. "They're pretty good at everything except blocking. Unfortunately, that's all we ask them to do. So, if we can block a little better, we'll be in good shape."
The Gamecocks' running game was limited to 36 yards on 20 carries. The top two running backs, Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds, only combined for five carries. Spurrier challenged right tackle Brandon Shell to take his game to another level next season. Shell started nine games last season as a redshirt fresman and earned Freshman All-America honors.
The South Carolina staff likes the progress sophomore receiver Shaq Roland has shown this spring. He caught three passes for 40 yards Thursday, and is getting better fundamentally after sort of being lost last season as a true freshman.
Defensively, coordinator Lorenzo Ward liked the way his guys ran to the ball and said he would again use his "Rabbits" package next season with ends Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton sliding inside on passing downs. Redshirt freshman Darius English and sophomore Mason Harris have worked as the ends in the "Rabbits" set, and Ward said Thursday that Harris looks quicker and faster than he did a year ago.
For more on South Carolina's scrimmage, read here and here.