USA Today/Derick E. Hingle

A different Brandon Harris from a year ago

LSU quarterback Brandon Harris eager to make his first real start of 2015.

LSU quarterback Brandon Harris never took his pads off Saturday during the weather delay.

He bided his time in the locker room, antsy and frustrated he couldn't get back on the field. He watched the end of Texas A&M's victory and almost all of Mississippi State's. He played catch with Travin Dural and John Diarse in the hallways. He sat on the floor and looked over the gameplan for the hundredth time.

He also prayed the weather would clear, but it never did, and Harris' first career start in Tiger Stadium didn't make it past the five-minute mark.

"It was miserable for him," said LSU coach Les Miles. "He just really wanted to play. You could see the disappointment on his face."

Months of preparation went to waste in the amount of time it takes lightning to strike Earth. Harris worked all summer to earn the starting job that evaded him as a freshman. He won it outright, and his reward was to prove himself in front of 100,000-plus LSU fans.

Instead, he got five plays before Mother Nature put an end to it. 

"It was unfortunate," Harris said, "but everything happens for a reason."

Harris was never able to get in a groove Saturday. He threw two passes, completed one for a loss of four yards and undrewthrew the other on third down.

But more important than the stats is the way Harris carried himself. That's where he says he's made the biggest improvements from last year.

"We’re not playing backyard football anymore," Harris said. "I felt good and understood what I was doing. That’s what was holding me back, not understanding the full offense. Now I do.”

The wait continues for Harris to finally show that's true. He'll make his real first start of 2015 this Saturday on the road against Mississippi State.

It's hard not to draw comparisons to what happened to Harris the last time he was in this situation though. His first ever start came in a hostile environment against Auburn, and it couldn't have gone much worse. He went just 3-for-14 for 58 yards as LSU got routed 41-7 by the other Tigers.

That game's been removed from the mind of everyone at LSU though.

“We’re past Auburn," Harris said. "When you watch the game Saturday, you won’t see the same Brandon panicking in the pocket.”

LSU needs Harris to be that stabilizing force for the offense to finally take off.

Cam Cameron did show some diversity in the limited sample size that was his playcalling against McNeese State. That teased fans just enough to have their mouths watering for Harris to lead a revamped passing attack.

He's ready to accept that challenge too.

"Everything’s slowed down," Harris said. "I know all the nuances of the offense, and it’s not as much teaching anymore. It’s adding to the offense and opening up what we can do.”


Is it possible that Brandon Harris could actually benefit from having Saturday's game canceled? Les Miles suggests LSU has an advantage because of it.

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