Generally in this space we’ve talked about returning firepower and young guys who began to show promise and 2013 that are primed to launch in 2014.
For the quarterbacks, this isn’t the case. LSU just lost the second most successful quarterback in the Miles era, statistically speaking. The Tigers are left with two newcomers — Anthony Jennings’ only significant play came in the bowl game in which he was less than spectacular.
Brandon Harris became the hot name after his promising performance in the spring game. His highly touted strong arm was on display as was his ability to use his legs, evidenced by his 75 yard touchdown scamper.
Because of these two performances, most are anointing Harris as the heir apparent, even though Jennings already has a year in the system. Where Harris has decided advantages in athletic ability (not to say Jennings is a slouch), Jennings has an advantage in knowledge of the offensive system.
LSU needs no breakout star at quarterback. Indeed, one only has to look at what the Tigers accomplished in 2011 with a sound offensive line, strong running game, & other-worldly defense, while having a tire fire at quarterback. For much of that season, Jarrett Lee (and then Jefferson near the end of the year) was only asked to be an efficient, cautious quarterback, which was more than enough for LSU to win every game it played during the regular season.
There have only been two seasons during Les Miles 9 seasons in which LSU has had a truly prolific quarterback. In those two seasons, LSU won exactly 0 SEC titles and 0 national titles. The formula for winning in Baton Rouge has never revolved around a game-changing quarterback. The LSU formula is a strong running game & stout defense.
The key to success this season won’t be Jennings’ or Harris’ success, it will be how effective the defense is after losing key players up front & having to rely on unproven high level talent.
This year LSU has some of the best young talent at QB in Harris & Jennings than they’ve had under Miles. Cam Cameron may be the best offensive coordinator the Tigers have had, as well. If Cameron is able to transform one or both of those quarterbacks into an efficient player than can throw the ball vertically, the LSU offense will generate enough points to win games.
Both quarterbacks are going to play to start the year & most likely Anthony Jennings is going to lead the charge early, unless Brandon Harris really outshines Jennings during fall practice.
I think either quarterback has the makeup to be a solid starter for the Tigers and get LSU to the promised land. The difference is in upside. Harris has more impressive physical tools & looks like the better quarterback long term. If Cameron can get Harris prepared to play this year, putting him on the field more might work in LSU’s favor more so down the road. He ultimately might end up being the breakout star at quarterback that LSU so rarely has.
This year, though, that’s probably not going to be in the cards, especially early on. OC Cameron will look to establish the most consistent quarterback and that player will get the lion’s share of snaps while the rest of the team finds it’s identity.
There may not be a breakout star at quarterback in 2014. LSU doesn’t need it. With one of the strongest offensive lines in years, coupled with an improved defense, LSU has the potential to find itself where it wants to be at the end of the year with a merely competent quarterback.
Sure, we’d love for one of the two to take control of the job, but that’s a perk. This year’s breakout star is LSU Quarterback.