LSU’s quarterback competition is back.
Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris will compete this week to be the Tigers’ starting quarterback Saturday at Florida (6:30 p.m., SEC Network), LSU coach Les Miles said at his weekly news conference Monday.
Harris, a true freshman, struggled in his first career start in the 41-7 loss at Auburn on Saturday and injured his right ankle. He finished 3 for 14 for 58 yards, 52 of which came on one pass. Jennings, who started the first five games, came in and completed 5 of 10 passes for 84 yards.
Harris was expected to practice Monday, Miles said. Harris was wearing a walking boot on his right foot after Saturday’s game, and he was seen in a boot Monday walking out of the LSU football facility.
Harris misfired on at least five passes, fumbled a snap and scrambled unnecessarily from a clean pocket several times. The woes didn’t surprise Miles, the coach said.
“Well, I have been around some freshman starters in the past, and I can tell you that there’s a lot that goes on in a freshman’s mind as they take the field, and then combine that with being a quarterback,” Miles said. “There’s 10 other players really relying on your signal and your direction, and frankly, you know, that’s a tremendous burden.”
Harris called his play “awful” and “terrible” after the game, likening his starting debut to a nightmare.
LSU pulled Harris with about six minutes left in the third quarter. Moments before that, ESPN analyst Todd Blackledge said it could “potentially be devastating (to Harris) if Harris is taken out.”
Harris replaced a struggling Jennings in the win over New Mexico State on Sept. 27. Asked about the confidence of his QBs, Miles said, “I think both of them realize that they’re both going to play better as they go forward.”
Fullback Connor Neighbors may miss one or more days of practice this week, Miles said.
Neighbors, a senior from Alabama, injured his right ankle or foot in the loss to Auburn. He was seen Monday with a walking boot on his right foot. Neighbors suffered a concussion in the win over New Mexico State the week before.
Defensive tackle Quentin Thomas is getting closer to returning to practice, but Miles is uncertain of his exact status, he said. Thomas missed the past two games after suffering a left arm injury against Mississippi State.
“I think he’s getting closer to coming to the field,” Miles said.
Another night kick
LSU will play eight straight night games for the first time since 1958.
The Tigers will host Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in a game televised by SEC Network, the Southeastern Conference announced Monday.
LSU’s previous six games started after 6 p.m., and the Tigers’ game Saturday at Florida on Saturday is slated for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Tigers are unranked for the first time since 2008. They dropped out of both polls following Saturday’s 41-7 loss to Auburn, the program’s worst defeat in 15 years.