LSU began practice for the Texas Bowl by throwing the ball around, and coach Les Miles expects his quarterback to play “a lot better” in the meeting with Texas Tech.
The No. 22 Tigers (8-3) kicked off what will be about 12 bowl practices leading into the game against the Red Raiders (7-5), scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 29 at Houston’s NRG Stadium.
Quarterback Brandon Harris and LSU’s offense limp into the clash on their worst scoring stretch in more than 20 years. The Tigers haven’t cracked the 20-point mark in four straight games, and Harris has completed just 47 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and five interceptions during the stretch.
Is Harris LSU’s quarterback of the future, or is the job wide open? Miles defended his quarterback Monday when asked.
“He’s in his first year of starting and, really, he’s had some great games,” Miles said. “Just has to get his feet settled. I’m talking about philosophically, not the actual footwork. He just needs to calm down and say, ‘OK, this is it.’ When he does, he’s just what we want. I’d expect he’d play a lot better in this game.”
The Tigers finished the regular season 111th nationally in passing offense. Harris averaged 173 passing yards per game. Naturally, the Tigers honed in on the passing unit during their first bowl practice.
“We want to have a great, efficient passing game, more completions, more yards, more,” Miles said. “I think we have a nice start to the game plan and (offensive coordinator Cam Cameron) has us headed in the right direction.”
Harris is expected to compete this spring with Danny Etling, a Purdue transfer who had to sit out this season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. Etling has two years of eligibility remaining and has been allowed to practice with the Tigers since his arrival over the summer.
“He’s got a great attitude going into bowl practice,” Miles said of Harris. “His personal necessity to throw better and be more accurate is what he’s working on.”
‘Most’ draft grades sent
LSU has sent “most” of its requests for draft grades to the NFL College Advisory Committee, Miles said. The coach declined to name which players were requesting grades or whether the school asked for more than the maximum of five requests.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Jan. 18.
Among LSU’s draft-eligible starting underclassmen, cornerback Tre’Davious White, linebacker Kendell Beckwith and receiver Travin Dural are the highest-projected players. Each ranges from late first round to third round.
Brossette awaiting surgery
Running back Nick Brossette, the highly rated freshman out of University High, is awaiting surgery on a knee injury he suffered in the loss at Ole Miss last month, Miles said.
Brossette suffered an ACL injury during a kickoff against the Rebels, Miles said after that game.
Fournette, Alexander reel in more honors
LSU running back Leonard Fournette added three first-team All-America honors to his growing collection.
Fournette and offensive tackle Vadal Alexander landed on The Associated Press’ All-Southeastern Conference team. Fournette also was named to All-America first teams by ESPN.com and the Football Writers Association of America.
Fournette so far has been named to six first-team All-America squads.