Tigers try to stay grounded
Miles says QB Flynn 'looks every bit ready' to take the reins
Sunday, August 05, 2007
By Jim Kleinpeter
BATON ROUGE -- What is the LSU players' reaction to being voted No. 2 in the nation by USA Today.
Friday night at the team's first meeting, there was no reaction because the subject never came up.
That's one sign that the Tigers, picked by most experts to be in the thick of the BCS title hunt, have their focus in place. They started their quest Saturday with split practices at the Charles McClendon practice facility.
"Not even a little bit," said senior defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey when asked how much the ranking was discussed. "We didn't even mention it. It's understood; that's the way it is around here.
"It's good to see us getting recognition, but we have to go out and earn it," he said.
Many questions after the camp's first practice Saturday dealt with high expectations. It's not the first time the players have heard it, either. The storm began gathering after LSU's 41-14 Sugar Bowl victory against Notre Dame.
"It's hard to ignore because it's everywhere," senior quarterback Matt Flynn said. "Everyone asks you about it. But you have to remember this team hasn't taken one snap against an opponent."
Said wide receiver Early Doucet: "We just want to grind it out, take it one day at a time. It's nice to be ranked however high we're ranked, but we're out here to play football and get better."
HALVES: As he did last season, LSU Coach Miles splits the two a-days into a morning practice with mostly veterans and an afternoon practice with freshmen and selected veterans. The team will continue that format until Wednesday, when the full squad will have its first practice in full gear. Miles lauded the work by wide receiver Brandon LaFell and defensive end Tremaine Johnson, and he said quarterback Matt Flynn "looks every bit ready to lead this team." Defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois did not practice, and Miles said he would return Monday after attending to a personal matter at home in Florida. Jean-Francois is currently academically ineligible to play. He missed the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame and sat out spring practice for that reason.
PERRILLOUX WORKS: Sophomore quarterback Ryan Perrilloux reported and practiced in the afternoon session. It was his first work with the team since being suspended in May after being cited by Baton Rouge Police for trying to enter a gambling casino with a fake ID. Perrilloux, who was not available for interviews, went through the normal drills during the portion of practice open to the media.
Miles said Perrilloux appeared to be in good, but not great, shape after being barred from the summer workout program with the rest of the team.
"You need to be around our weight room and around (strength and conditioning coach Tommy) Moffitt to be in great shape," Miles said. "It's obvious he's not in great shape, but he's worked out pretty hard."
SLOW START: Guard Will Arnold, who has battled injuries his whole career, is off to a slow start. He was running with the second-team line while Lyle Hitt went with the first unit. Miles suggested the team take a cautious approach with him this season. Arnold has been hobbled by knee and ankle injuries, which have limited him to 23 games in three years.
"Any snaps we get will really benefit us," Miles said. "We need to do smart things with his body to make sure he can get to the game. Ideally, we'd like to say get a half or a quarter in the first game and build up as the season goes on and get full games late in the year. But I don't know exactly what we can expect."
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