After struggling on offense in a 16-14, season-opening loss to Wisconsin, LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will return to the coaches’ booth to call plays, Les Miles said Tuesday at his weekly press luncheon.
“We kind of reviewed that, and what was an obvious advantage [against Texas Tech], we did not get as much information from the box as we’d like,” Miles said.
Cameron spent the first three years of his LSU tenure calling plays from the booth but moved to the field for LSU’s Texas Bowl victory against Texas Tech, where it racked up an LSU bowl game record for yardage.
But the Tigers didn’t sustain that success against the Badgers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Due to inaccuracy, dropped passes and consistent pressure, quarterback Brandon Harris completed 12 of 21 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Running back Leonard Fournette struggled to get going in the first half, totaling his fewest rushing yards in the first half since the loss to Alabama in 2015. Fournette did finish with 138 yards on the ground.
Miles said after the game that there were communication issues at times between coaches. He said Tuesday that the headsets went out twice during the game. Miles felt Cameron’s ability to quickly assess what’s going on offensively from the booth will be more beneficial than having it “relayed, especially in between the calls”
“We feel like there’s two young quarterbacks that can really help Brandon off the field, as well as [wide receiver coach] Dameyune Craig who played [quarterback],” Miles said. “We feel like we [need] to reverse that step there and put him back in the box.”
Here are a few more nuggets from Miles' meeting with the media:
- ‘Quarterbacks to go to’: While Miles has not made any changes at starting quarterback and still has confidence in Harris’ ability, the coach gave a revealing quote of how quickly Harris needs to improve. “He doesn’t have a lifetime to do it,” Miles said. “There are other quarterbacks to go to.” Miles emphasized that he has seen Harris perform well in scrimmages, and it often times comes down to him relaxing.
- Last play: Miles addressed LSU’s last offensive play, saying Harris did a good job of evading a pass rusher. However, Miles said he ultimately made a poor read on the game-sealing interception. “He should have squared his feet, possibly run for 15 or run for 7. In any way, return the ball back to the huddle.” Miles said the team reenacted the play in practice yesterday, and Harris hit wide receiver Malachi Dupre for a touchdown.
- Boutte: Miles addressed right guard Josh Boutte’s personal foul penalty and ejection immediately following Harris’ game-sealing interception. Miles reiterated Boutte, who has been suspended for one game by the team, called D’Cota Dixon to apologize for the hit on the Badger defensive back. However, Miles believed that Boutte’s hit was not intentional because Boutte thought the play was still live. Miles said he thought the hit appeared more vicious because of how much bigger Boutte is than Dixon. "I talked to the head of officials, and he said, ‘The reason I called it egregious was because he didn’t try tackling him,’ Miles said. "But when you’re 6-foot-6 and you weigh 330 [pounds], you have a difficult time bending your body down to get anything on a guy that’s flying by there. So whatever you can get your body to do, you do. That’s why offensive line bodies don’t play defense.”
- Fournette injury update: Miles said Fournette did not practice yesterday, allowing him time to rest and ice an ankle injury he re-aggravated in the closing minutes of Saturday's loss. But the coach said he expects Fournette to play this weekend against Jacksonville State. “He’s fine," Miles said. "He’s not terribly swollen. He got a contusion, a nice bruise. I would expect him to play.”