New wrinkle for Harris

TSD's Ben Love provides the latest insight on LSU Fall Camp as it pertains to the quarterback battle and the Tigers' offense in 2014. Come inside for the details accompanied by practice video.

One of the biggest questions about the Tigers leading up to Fall Camp 2014, aside from who will win the starting quarterback job, was will the LSU offense take on a different look or dimension this season?

If what we've seen through three days is any indication, the answer is yes.

Picking up where they left off in spring ball, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is taking time to drill freshman Brandon Harris on the art of the zone read (or read-option, depending on your preferred terminology).

To date all that's been involved, at least in the open-access portion of practices, has been the quarterback reading a perimeter defender - usually a defensive end - while meshing with a running back from either a Pistol or Shotgun formation.

For a look at what I'm talking about, check out the first video below. Taken at yesterday's practice it shows Harris running the zone read with Terrence Magee. Harris does such a good job of selling the fake that he even draws praise from Cameron at the very beginning of the clip.


The evolution of this new facet of LSU's playbook continued on Wednesday as Cameron tacked on a passing option to the play for the versatile newbie from Bossier City.

As you can see in this second video, taken at today's afternoon practice, Harris, operating from the Shotgun, meshed with a back and then found a receiver running an inside route from an outside position.

Below Harris connects with wide-outs Quantavius Leslie, Kevin Spears and Trey Quinn, all relocating to a spot on the field where Cameron and the LSU offense hope a linebacker has vacated as a result of the play-action fake.


So, while many are assuming Cameron will cut the playbook down for his new quarterbacks (which he probably will), he is putting a decent bit on Harris' shoulders in the way of assignment football and reading cues from defenders for a play that has multiple options - run and pass.

What's also interesting is that Cameron hasn't gone through the same drills and teaching moments on the zone read with sophomore signal caller Anthony Jennings these last two days, at least not in the open portions of practice. It's been all hand-offs and passing for Jennings.

That could mean one of two things.

First, Cameron may be tailoring a part of the playbook for Harris to best accommodate his talents with the expectation that Harris will come in for certain packages. Or, second, Cameron knows Harris' mobility helps a young LSU offense that will have to be varied in the run, and he's preparing an overall offensive attack with the expectation Harris is the starter.

Which one it is remains anybody's guess while the open competition continues under center.

But one thing's for sure: Harris, who Miles recently referred to as "maybe a little more naturally talented" than Jennings, is allowing Cameron and Miles to have the dual-threat option both have wanted (Miles for some time).

Now we're just starting to see it come to fruition.



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