LSU's spring game didn't solidify true freshman early enrollee Brandon Harris as the Tigers' starting quarterback, but it certainly could go a long way towards him winning the job if he continues his progression during summer conditioning and into fall camp.
The 6'2", 184-pounder from Bossier City, La. was tremendous in LSU's spring game on Saturday, completing 11-of-28 passes for 195 yards, tossed three touchdowns, rushed for 77 yards and added a rushing touchdown.
His primary competition, true sophomore Anthony Jennings, didn't fare so well. The 6'2", 211-pounder from Marietta, Ga. completed 9-of-17 passes for 157 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.
|LSU QBs in the Spring Game|
|LSU Sports Information|
Head coach Les Miles was impressed with Harris' performance, but maintains that there's plenty of work still to be done.
“I think that things that you do in a game certainly are things you must recognize," he said in quotes released by LSU. "He [Harris] made some really big plays and nice passes, but he also made some mistakes. It was certainly reviewed very positively by us. We’re a ways away, but there needs to be improvement in both spots."
Sure, the completion percentage isn't where it needed to be, but that didn't stop Harris from impressing those in attendance, including Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate:
Half-time observation: The disparity between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris is stunning. #LSU— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) April 5, 2014
As my B/R colleague Carter Bryant pointed out following the game, the battle isn't over yet. The two dual-threat signal-callers will have to impress the coaching staff during summer conditioning and the winner likely won't be determined until after fall camp starts.
But Harris' play in the spring game flipped the script.
No longer is he the hunter, he's the hunted.
Barring an injury that took place to a competitor this spring, this is as good as it could have been for Harris in his first spring in Baton Rouge. He's made the quarterback position a legitimate debate and positioned himself well to win the job if he continues his current trajectory.
There's a lot to like about what Harris brings to the table.
He has a big arm, is accurate downfield, has the ability to be a weapon in the running game but keeps his eyes downfield when his protection breaks down. For offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, he's the perfect fit.
Cameron is a run-first kind of coach who likes to take the top off of a defense when the safeties creep up. He can do just that with Harris, but Harris also has the dual-threat capabilities that allows the offensive staff to throw some curveballs into the playbook.
That makes LSU's offense incredibly dangerous, especially once true freshman wide receiver Malachi Dupre and running back Leonard Fournette join the program later this summer.
Does one scrimmage make or break a quarterback battle?
No, and Miles went so far as to admit that in his postgame quotes.
"I think both guys are good enough to be our quarterback," he said. "At times, I think the two guys played better than that in the spring. I think the game itself was a little more emotional because it was in the stadium.”
Consider the LSU quarterback spot a work in progress, but with Harris progressing quicker than Jennings in the race to replace former starter Zach Mettenberger.
After the spring game, it's Harris' job to lose.
* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All stats are courtesy of LSU's sports information department unless otherwise noted.
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