BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU’s spring culminated on Saturday afternoon with its annual spring game, an exhibition that proved that the team may have in fact made some more necessary strides to capture a season chock full of expectations.
There were statistics and scores from the game that hold little meaning, but there was also progress that can’t be overlooked.
For LSU coach Les Miles, there’s no doubting the ceiling that his Tigers have.
Miles believes there’s enough of a nucleus in place where LSU can compete for an SEC and perhaps a national championship, but there remains work to do.
That work can turn LSU’s aspirations into a reality.
“At this point, we’re a good football team with a great foundation,” Miles said Saturday. “Now, to be an elite football team, we have to work hard this summer. … There needs to be a concerted effort as a mature team to step forward and say we want something special. To do that, we’ve got to be elite.”
Elite won’t come without maturation, and the development of some leaders.
Gone are many Tigers that have held onto those roles for years past, but that also has opened the doors for others to step up.
Running back Leonard Fournette believes he is one of those players that is being counted on, as are some of his fellow juniors, including quarterback Brandon Harris, safety Jamal Adams and wide receiver Malachi Dupre.
All are deemed necessary components to fit Miles’ criteria of what true leaders are.
“We have plenty of leaders now,” Fournette told SEC Country. “Everybody is playing their role. … We have the talent, so we’ll have to see. The main goal is don’t forget our ‘why.’ Why you started playing football. Why this. Why that. That’s our main season.
“We’re going to be in the weight room, grinding and motivating each other. But it’s a mental thing, and it starts with our leaders boosting them up and giving them help when we need it. That’s one step to getting better.”
The aforementioned leaders may provide a foundation for LSU’s core, but there are some pieces that still elude the team.
That’s according to Miles, who believes there are freshmen coming to Baton Rouge, La., this summer that will provide an added dose of talent to go with an already proven talent base.
With all of those ingredients in place, Miles has no issue admitting just what should be expected of this team.
“I include our incoming class and young men coming in. I do,” Miles said. “It’s interesting to see … (cornerback) Saivion Smith came in so ready to play in our conference at a high level. If a couple of guys like that (come in) with our experience, we’ll be right where we want to be. It’ll be a lot of work. We’re not accomplished in any way, but we have the pieces here.”