LSU plans to go long.
“We’re going to take shots on them,” quarterback Anthony Jennings said.
On Thanksgiving night, the Tigers (7-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) meet a Texas A&M defense that mostly plays without a traditional deep safety. That could mean more long-distance bombs for an LSU passing game that’s one of the nation’s worst.
“(They’re) pretty much man-to-man, going to come up and jam you,” Jennings said, describing the Aggies defense. “We have to get the ball in our playmakers’ hands and get them to make a move. If they miss a tackle, there’s no one behind them.”
Texas A&M’s defense is slightly better this season than the much-maligned 2013 unit. The Aggies, 111th nationally in total defense last year, are 104th this season, allowing 445 yards per game.
Their rushing defense is ranked 106th (208 yards per game), and their pass defense is 85th (236 yards per game). Six of 11 teams this year ran for at least 240 yards against the Aggies (7-4, 3-4), and five have thrown for 250 or more yards.
Sounds like a recipe for LSU’s offense to get back on track. The Tigers scored a combined 23 points the past three games — their worst three-game figure since 1990.
“We’ve obviously got a chip on our shoulder,” running back Terrence Magee said. “We went back to the basics, focused on fundamentals. Feel like we’ve kind of gotten away from that the past two weeks.”
Only eight teams from the five power conferences rank lower in total defense than A&M — and none of them are in the SEC.
Miles: QB future unclear
LSU hasn’t made a decision on its quarterback beyond this season, and the Tigers are trying to get freshman QB Brandon Harris on the field, coach Les Miles said Tuesday during his radio show.
Miles was asked on his radio show why Harris and Jennings plit the snaps 50-50 in practice.
“We’ve chosen not to make the decision on our future quarterback until down the road,” Miles said. “That’s why he’s getting 50 percent of the reps.”
Miles said he would not be surprised if Harris took some snaps over the final games of the season, something he’s said repeatedly over the last month.
The coach, though, had stopped divulging information on Harris over the last week and a half, including during his Monday press conference.
Said Miles on Tuesday: “What we’re trying to get accomplished is put him in a position where he can go on the field and give us some explosive plays and not necessarily encumber him with the full offense, the whole thing. If we can do that, we might be able to get him on the field.”.
Rettig: System wasn’t a fit
Former LSU and current Rutgers quarterback Hayden Rettig left the Tigers because offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s system didn’t fit with the pro-style type QB, he told nj.com in a story earlier this year.
“The system wasn’t a fit,” Rettig said. “The guy (offensive line coach Greg Studrawa) who recruited me there got fired from his position, and it just wasn’t feeling like home. It just changed in such a dramatic way where it just wasn’t where I needed to be at the time. I needed to find myself and figure out what I wanted to do.”
The story says that “Cameron’s offense calls for a mobile quarterback, which doesn’t mesh with the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Rettig’s skill set.”
Rettig was one of three reserve quarterbacks to leave the program over the offseason. Stephen Rivers transferred to Vanderbilt and Rob Bolden left for Eastern Michigan.
Rettig is in line to compete for the Scarlet Knights’ starting quarterback job next season. He’s sitting out this year because of transfer rules.
Cornerback Jalen Mills, a Texas native, may have the best relationship to a Texas A&M player than anyone from LSU. Mills played peewee, middle school and high school football with Nick Harvey, the Aggies’ freshman cornerback.
He calls Harvey “like my little brother.” The two will be on the field at the same time during kick and punt returns.
“Trying to knock his head off,” Mills said with a smile. “I hope to see him out there playing and congratulate him before the game and tell him, ‘Once the clock starts, we’re not friends anymore until it’s over with.’ ”