LSU should be counted on to play good defense this season. The running game should still be strong as well. The one constant weakness in any team coached by Les Miles appears to come at the most important position there is in football; quarterback. Despite a rough opener on the road against Wisconsin, LSU head coach Les Miles is still giving off a public showing of support for his starting quarterback Brandon Harris.
That’s important too. When a quarterback struggles, it is stressful for the team. The quarterbacks shoulders much of the blame for a loss. It comes with the territory, no matter how skilled you are. Harris has taken his lumps from time to time as LSU’s quarterback, and this week has been no different after tossing an interception to help seal a Wisconsin victory in Lambeau Field over the weekend. Asked about his quarterback, Miles came to his defense.
“He’s talented and capable [of] decision making and really relaxing and letting the game come to him,” Miles said Wednesday. “At times he struggles there.”
Harris has a knack for getting off to a slow start and never really catching up. Slow starts have been a problem for Harris and LSU, and it may have helped contribute to a loss in Wisconsin over the weekend. Miles knows Harris has trouble at times, but he is not ready to put him on the sideline just yet, because he feels Harris can still get on track. Miles also isn’t putting all of the blame on his quarterback.
“It was at least early in the game, and I said, ‘OK, now relax and just realize it’s the same throw that you’ve been making. Just calm down.’ I recognize that he’s got to still come,” Miles said. “We all do. And he doesn’t have a lifetime to do it, and there are other quarterbacks to go to.”
As Harris has struggled, LSU fans have clamored for Miles to make a switch and go with former Purdue quarterback Danny Etling. Etling has plenty of starting experience at Purdue and may be a breath of fresh air for the Tigers should it come to that point for Miles. The question is how long is the leash Miles has Harris attached to. Would a sloppy performance against FCS Jacksonville State be enough to make a switch and see what Etling can do? There is no guarantee the offense will run better with Etling at quarterback, of course. LSU’s offensive line struggled against the Badgers and this unit will be tested in division play with Ole Miss and Alabama and Texas A&M. It might not matter who is under center for LSU because of that.
But like any top-paid coach, Miles has to figure out what to do at quarterback if LSU is going to rebound and still have a chance of making a run at the SEC title and perhaps a spot in the playoff before it is too late.