LSU Spring Game 2014: Brandon Harris Shines, but Tigers' QB Battle Far from over

Carter Bryant@carterthepowerContributor IApril 5, 2014

Getty Images

Baton Rouge, La. — On a dark, cloudy day in Tiger Stadium, LSU freshman signal-caller Brandon Harris shined. 

The 2014 LSU spring game was hyped up to be the battle of the quarterbacks. Sophomore Anthony Jennings and Harris both took the field for the first time in the public eye this spring. 

Jennings withered. He tossed two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns and was sacked four times.  

Harris dazzled. The freshman went 11-for-21 for 195 yards and three touchdowns. He scrambled for 77 yards and a touchdown as well. 

"He (Harris) has been doing great things all spring. I wouldn't expect anything different," said Jennings. "He's a great athlete and is really smart with the football."

In the first quarter, Jennings started with the white team, which was mostly made of first-team players, while Harris was with the purple. For the second quarter, they flipped. Once Harris was surrounded by better talent, he threw three touchdown passes—all to different receivers. 

Harris looked like the quarterback with college experience, not Jennings. He showed great pocket awareness, accuracy and playmaking ability. Jennings stared down his receivers and was off-rhythm. 

Though Harris may have won the spring game battle, but he has yet to win the war. LSU head coach Les Miles said he will not name a starter anytime soon. 

"I think both of those guys are good enough to be our starting quarterback," said Miles. "We're going to let this competition continue and see how this thing plays out."

LSU wide receiver Travin Dural caught two touchdown passes, one each from Jennings and Harris. Dural said both quarterbacks have had their good and bad days this spring. 

"Every quarterback has games where he throws an interception or two, so you can't really hold that against them," said Dural. "I'd say both of them had a decent spring and a pretty good spring game."

LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron (right) speaks with his receivers before the spring game.
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron (right) speaks with his receivers before the spring game.Photo Credit: Carter Bryant

LSU offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Cam Cameron said though he was impressed with Harris, he still has much room to improve.

"He has some instinct. We knew that from his high school days." said Cameron. "He's very confident, but he has a long ways to go. And he knows that."

Cameron said he likes that the battle between Jennings and Harris is close. 

"I hope these guys don't separate themselves. We expect everybody that plays quarterback for us to perform at a championship level," said Cameron. 

The spring game marks the end of spring football for LSU. The Tigers will continue working out until strapping up the pads again in late summer. Despite the break, the Jennings vs. Harris chatter will not slow down amongst the college football world. 

Bleacher Report's SEC featured columnist Barrett Sallee believes Harris will ultimately be the starter: 

I feel 100 percent confident in my pre-spring prediction that Brandon Harris will be LSU's starting QB.

— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) April 5, 2014

Jennings said he looks forward to the summer with Harris. The sophomore stresses he should be defined by one average performance in a scrimmage. 

"You want somebody that is going to bring out the best in you, and that is what he (Harris) is going to do. We make each other better," said Jennings. "I don't think I took a step back today. Some things didn't go my way. From all 15 practices this spring, I think I improved drastically."

The quarterback battle will be a close one, and the LSU coaching staff is not looking to make a decision based off one scrimmage. But if Jennings performs in the offseason like he did today, he will be signaling in plays to Harris from the sideline next season.  


*All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Stats provided by LSU Sports Information.