By LUKE JOHNSON
Tiger Rag Editor
I wanted to get a thorough look at the offense today, particularly the quarterbacks and wide receivers. After getting about 20 minutes to watch them go through practice, all the reports I’ve read were confirmed.
True freshman Brandon Harris is a step behind both Anthony Jennings and Hayden Rettig at the quarterback position. The first drill I saw where LSU was working on timing and the route tree, Harris was either late or moving too slow for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s liking.
But Cameron was still treating his young quarterback with a soft touch. He’d remind him after each rep that he wanted it done a particular way, but it was never in a frustrated or exasperated tone. Cameron knows that Harris faces a learning curve, and he’s doing all he can to help him adjust.
Same thing goes for Jennings and Rettig. Jennings was having trouble getting depth on his five-step drop, and he also had trouble connecting on the deep ball when LSU starting practicing its nine routes. Cameron had Rettig stand in to show him how far back he wanted Jennings to get on his five-step -- saying at one point, "There is a yard and a half difference between you two” – but much in the same vein as Harris, he was encouraging. On several occasions Cameron reminded Jennings that this is why they practiced.
Here was one direct quote after Cameron instructed what he wanted Jennings to do on his drop and Jennings still didn't get deep enough, "I'm not getting my point across. It's ok. We'll get it."
Back to that deep ball. Of the three, Harris’ was the prettiest with Rettig coming in a close second. Harris just has an effortless throwing motion and put a lot of touch under the ball. Jennings, meanwhile, did not use much touch on the long throws and he was off-target a couple times. I’d think that’s something the coaches shore up this spring.
Since this was my first time closely watching the quarterbacks work this spring, let me say that I was really impressed with how Rettig developed in his redshirt freshman season. Watching him last fall, you would’ve had trouble picturing him becoming a Division I quarterback. He looks confident out there, and was really spinning some nice throws (albeit against the air).
It’s really tough to get a read on the receiver group right now. John Diarse was consistently lining up opposite Travin Dural as the first wideouts to go through a drill. He’s an imposing physical specimen, but outside of that I think I’ll need to see him on the field. I did not see him drop a pass today.
Quantavious Leslie didn’t pop out at me at practice. I think I only saw one pass bounce off his hands, but he didn’t make any eye-grabbing catches either, and he looks a step slower than some of the other wideouts.
Neither Avery Peterson nor Kevin Spears were on the field today, as both are dealing with hamstring injuries. Obviously they need to make sure they’re healed first, but this spring is hugely important for both young receivers, especially with a couple talented youngsters arriving this fall.
Rob Bolden moving to wide receiver in his senior year is a nice story, but I’ll be shocked if he ever sees the field. He needs a ton of polish, especially because he’s not on par athletically with the guys he’s competing with.
We did see some Big Cat today, and Kendell Beckwith beat DeSean Smith pretty handily.