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Harris, Dupre open up about LSU offensive changes

Wednesday's Tiger Blitz practice notebook includes Brandon Harris and Malachi Dupre talking LSU's offensive changes, Derrius Guice talking running backs, plus more!

LSU's offensive improvements remain a mystery in a few ways, but Brandon Harris and Malachi Dupre shed some light on the differences while there's a battle at the "F" linebacker and Derrius Guice talks running backs rotation.

LSU will scrimmage again on Saturday after the team has off Thursday.

Dupre: "We're not drawing magical plays in the sand."

That's right. There's nothing crazy about the offensive scheme changes talked about this offseason. That's because there weren't any. The playbook is the same. 

Wide receiver Malachi Dupre said that the staff isn't having the receivers run complex routes. They're working on the intermediate game the most this camp to give the offense more options.

"If you start off with that base and work your way down, I feel like the passing game will be there. We've got all sorts of options that we're working on. Your guess is as good as mine when the game comes and what the actual calls will be. I'm excited to see that and execute."

The differences in play calling could come from consulting with the veteran group of offensive players. Having more mature and older players can only help the staff get Harris into a rhythm earlier in a game. 

"I don't want to say it was us talking to the staff, but we're older now and the staff will trust our judgement a little bit more with anything we have to say. They know we're not going to try to jeopardize our games by calling anything crazy."

While the playbook hasn't changed, so far the staff is getting Harris into what Dupre says are more "higher percentage throws" and that has been welcomed and positive.

"Our practices have been the same and our plays have not changed. Our execution has been better and we're just getting older and more mature," Dupre said.

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Dupre touched on the coaching staff's trust in Harris going into his second year as the full-time starter having a big effect on the offense. Harris said that the entire offense is more comfortable now that they've grown up together.

"When you get a comfort level with different guys, it helps. Just look at two years ago when everyone was either a redshirt freshman or a true sophomore. Now, they're seniors or true juniors. We've got to be smart and execute. We're just focusing on helping one another," Harris said.

With Harris able to get into a groove and the receivers working more closely with the quarterback and coaches, the team feels it's beginning to gel already.

"Offensively, we're really playing together. One thing that we try to emphasize is not having penalties and not turning it over. In scrimmages, we work on different situations. It's our job to execute."

The offense is playing together, but they're also riding together. Dupre has been ferrying Harris around since Harris' car was flooded in the floods. More time, is even more chemistry Dupre said and laughed as the pair walked off.

Freshmen battling at F-linebacker

Freshmen Michael Divinity and Rahssan Thornton have impressed the coaching staff right away with their play. Divinity was one of the few freshmen up with the veterans right away and Thornton was shortly added to the veteran group when LSU was still in split squad practices.

When linebacker Corey Thompson went down with a leg injury, it was expected that Divinity especially would challenge for the starting role. According to Tashawn Bower, that's what exactly is happening, but Thornton is also pushing as well.

"They're doing a great job. I'm keeping them under my wing when I'm over there. He's (Divinity) coming along and he's getting a lot better from Day 1 to whatever today is, it's a huge difference. He takes notes, he pays attention and tries to do what he's told," Bower said. "I know they both have their strengths and weaknesses. They're both definitely competing and we always try to coach them up so they're neck and neck so that if one goes down and the other has to go in the game, there's not a dropoff."

Divinity and Thornton both bring different things to LSU's 3-4 defense and while Bower wouldn't get into specifics, they're both making plays and battling.

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Bower has been bouncing back and forth between the Buck and the "F" linebacker, where he says it's not incredibly different, but you've got to study and be ready.

"It's definitely hard because the terminology, your drops and rush are different so it's a lot, but that's what is expected at this level. If you're going to play at the next level, they're going to expect that out of you too."

The linebacker has even found himself with his hand in the dirt, which is all about disguises and mismatches in Dave Aranda's defense.

Guice sounds off on rotation

Last year, Derrius Guice saw 16 carries one game, and then none another. That rotation was tough to handle as a running back.

"You never can tell. It was always you get carries this game, then you relax the next. I could never get anything going because I never knew when I was getting in. That's just how coach Frank (Wilson) did things. I respect how he did it and that's how it was. He put you in whenever he wanted you in."

In high school, Guice had to wait his turn at times for carries when he was younger, but now with Leonard Fournette going down for a bit, his reps have increased, but the rotation remains.

"It's just mainly young guys more ready to get in than normal. The rotation stays the same for me, Darrel and Nick, but Lanard just gotta be ready, Henry has to be ready."

Guice says the group has missed Fournette's energy the last couple days.

"It's all part of the plan and everyone's getting their reps. Normally, we feed off his energy. It's kind of slow right now, but we'll pick it up because you never know when you've got to have that energy. We've got to have that energy regardless."

The running backs might not have to wait too long to get their energy back. Brandon Harris said that he sees Fournette coming back soon, something that has been echoed by Guice and Miles.

"Leonard is a different breed and everyone knows that. If he says he'll be back, he'll be back and if coach Miles said it too, he'll be back," Harris said.

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