Glenn Guilbeau / Gannett Louisiana
BATON ROUGE Starting quarterback jobs for LSU coach Les Miles cannot be won in practice.
The heat of the game will decide if sophomore Anthony Jennings or freshman Brandon Harris is LSU's next full-time starter.
'It's going to be the time in the game where you have the opportunity to extend the play and make a play,' Miles said Sunday afternoon after welcoming 103 players for the start of practice Monday for the 2014 season. 'And therein, self-interpretation at some point in time will be, in my opinion, by which you pick the starter.'
The starter for the opener on Aug. 29 against Wisconsin in Houston may or may not be the starter for the rest of the season.
'I think maturity is the whole deal,' Miles said. 'I think recognizing the style of throw and the kind of play and seeing them understand what we're trying to get accomplished, how we're attacking defense. That's something that I think both guys have a good solid base premise.'
Jennings performed greatly at the most crucial of times last season late in the Arkansas game when he came in for injured starter Zach Mettenberger, who is now with the Tennessee Titans of the NFL. Jennings threw a 49-yard touchdown pass with 1:15 to go to beat Arkansas 31-27 and finished 4-of-7 for 76 yards with 26 yards on three carries. He did not play well in either the Outback Bowl win over Iowa or in the spring game, though.
Harris looked spectacular in spots in the spring game as he threw three touchdown passes and scrambled for 77 yards, though his overall numbers were not great.
Unlike many coaches, Miles does not plan to name a firm starter a week or so before the first game.
'Never,' he said. 'Never have. Never will. We'll have to see how each day how things go how they proceed.'
There have been times when Miles has simply not publicly named a starter at all.
Jennings and Harris will be mixed and matched with the separate varsity and freshmen practices over the first week of workouts.
'One day, one quarterback will be with the morning group, and the next day he'll work with the afternoon group,' Miles said. 'We'll go back and forth.'
JALEN MILLS UPDATE: Junior cornerback/safety Jalen Mills remains indefinitely suspended after his arrest in June for felony battery of a woman, and he was not listed on LSU's roster Sunday.
Miles adjusted his stance on Mills, who started at cornerback in 2012 and '13 before being moved to safety last spring.
'I'm told everything's pretty positive,' Miles said at the Baton Rouge Rotary Club last week. 'It's a very unfortunate situation. Somebody came to his apartment and pursued him. It's unfortunate on both ends.'
On Sunday, Miles did not offer such specifics and distanced himself from Mills' legal situation.
'And J. Mills (did not report), and again, I don't know what's going on there,' Miles said during his opening statement. 'So I'll just go forward.'
When asked about the status of Mills' legal case, Miles said, 'I really don't know. I have not tried to, nor do I intend to pressure the process in any way. Jalen Mills, as does everybody in this room (players' meeting room), has a responsibility to handle his business. And this is his business.'
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said recently that his office was 'still investigating' Mills' charges.
VALENTINE DOES NOT REPORT: Other than Mills, the only other player not reporting for practice, according to Miles, was 2014 signee Travonte Valentine, the No. 3 ranked high school defensive tackle in the nation out of Champagnat Catholic High in Hialeah, Fla. Valentine's grades at Champagnat are still under review by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
'I know that the communication's been regular,' Miles said. 'I think the reality is it's the high school and the Clearinghouse have to communicate. They're doing that. They're trying. Sometimes there are easy answers, and sometimes there are not. Hopefully, this will be an easy answer.'
LEALAIMATAFAO NOT ON ROSTER: The name of true freshman Trey Lealaimatafao, a 2014 signee from San Antonio, Texas, did not appear on the roster given to reporters on Sunday. Lealaimatafao was recently arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge for allegedly stealing a bicycle on campus. Miles did not comment on Lealaimatafao, though he did say last week that he did not expect him to play this season, which could mean a red-shirt season. Lealaimatafao also injured his shoulder when he punched a glass window in the LSU weight room last month.
True freshman Davon Godchaux of Plaquemine was listed on the roster. He was arrested recently for misdemeanor criminal mischief after allegedly throwing firecrackers into another student's room as a prank.