Brandon Harris didn’t need to drag anyone out of bed or beg or plead for them to arrive — on time — for seven-on-seven workouts over the summer.
Because of that, he said, LSU’s offense is ahead of schedule.
“A lot ahead of where I thought we would be,” the Tigers quarterback said Wednesday after the team’s seventh day of preseason camp. “It’s going great.”
Harris, a junior, is participating in his first camp as LSU’s unquestioned starting quarterback, a guy with a full season of starts to his résumé, a midyear enrollee who’s gone through three springs and summers with this club.
And now he gets his offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, on the sideline. Coach Les Miles announced earlier this week that both of his coordinators, Cameron and Dave Aranda, will be on the sideline during games.
Cameron started last season with plans to coach and call plays from the sideline – an effort to help the first-year starter Harris – but his treatment for prostate cancer put a dent in those plans. He was healthy enough to move to the sideline for the bowl game against Texas Tech, a 56-27 victory in which the Tigers rolled up their most yards in 2015.
“It was much more comfortable,” Harris said. “Cam is a guy I idolize. It’s just like having my dad here. With him being on the sideline and him being able to communicate with me and me being able to look over there and look in his eyes and we see we’re on the same page. It’s important as a quarterback.”
Summertime seven-on-seven workouts are also important, and they’ve led to an offense that Harris says is progressing more rapidly than he imagined.
“When we had our seven on sevens in the summer, I think guys did a great job of being there and showing up on time and working their tail off,” Harris said. “Not only 7-on-7 but our conditioning with Coach (Tommy) Moffitt. A lot of guys held a lot of guys accountable. We didn’t have any, I guess you guys would say, off the field issues that would be a distraction toward our team.”
Last summer, a total of five players were arrested, including then-starting quarterback Anthony Jennings.
Gamble, Culp in fight for KO job
Junior kicker Cameron Gamble is in the second intense battle of his LSU career.
First, it was a year-long tussle with Trent Domingue for the kickoff job.
Now, it’s a “hard” competition with highly touted freshman Connor Culp for the same gig.
“He’s very good on kickoffs, very strong leg. That’s coming from me. I’m known for a strong leg. He has a very strong leg,” Gamble said Wednesday of Culp, an Arizona native ranked as high as the ninth-best kicker in the 2016 class. “I don’t know what’s going on exactly with the kickoff job. Coach Miles has told me different things in the spring and all that.”
Gamble split time with Domingue for the kickoff duties in the last two seasons, booting 17 balls as a freshman and then 43, to Domingue’s 32, last year. Domingue, also the Tigers’ starting field goal kicker, transferred to Texas over the summer.
Will Gamble split kickoffs for a third straight season? That depends on his accuracy. It’s all about hitting what Gamble calls “landmarks,” or spots on the field. In the past, LSU has positioned its kickoffs toward the left corner of the end zone.
“That’s mainly what we were doing all last year and focusing on that in spring,” Gamble said. “(Miles) said the main person who’s going to have the starting job is going to kick it in the deep left.”
Gamble is in the mix for the field goal job, too. Senior Colby Delahoussaye is seen as the favorite, but he’s competing against three others: Gamble, Culp and former Catholic kicker Jack Gonsoulin.
In more than two years in Baton Rouge, Gamble says he's grown from that scrawny kid who could just boom kicks, a guy only known for his powerful leg.
“I feel like definitely I’m more consistent and confident now,” he said. “Freshman year, it was hard mentally. Day in and day out competing for this job. Every game, he had (Trent and I) switching off. It was brutal mentally.”
Chandler Rome and Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.