LSU notebook: Les Miles gives Brandon Harris the edge in Tigers’ first spring scrimmage _lowres

File photo -- LSU quarterbacks Brandon Harris, left, and Anthony Jennings appear to be neck-and-neck in the race for the starting job.

Give Brandon Harris the nod in this one.

The sophomore quarterback had the edge in LSU’s first scrimmage of spring practice, coach Les Miles said.

Harris and junior Anthony Jennings waged their first on-field battle for the starting quarterback job in a 100-play scrimmage in Tiger Stadium on Saturday. Splitting first-team reps evenly, Harris threw two touchdown passes to Jennings’ one, but he also threw the only interception.

“Might give (Harris) the edge today,” Miles said in a post-scrimmage address to reporters.

The scrimmage was closed to the public and media. Statistics were not provided.

Miles said his quarterbacks are “coming” and suggested that the offense has made a few changes from last season — something meant to help the QBs. In regard to a run/pass audible, Miles said an assistant coach “many times” can call the audible for the quarterback.

The coach suggested it’s a new wrinkle in the offense.

“It will be interesting to see if it helps him more or hinders him,” Miles said.

Another possible change: LSU went more up-tempo.

“I think our tempo is a little faster,” he said. “I think our guys enjoy a little faster tempo. Quarterbacks are coming, and I think the offense is helping them come.”

Outside of the quarterbacks, Miles called the scrimmage “sloppy.” Running back Leonard Fournette opened the scrimmage with a “long” touchdown run, the coach said.

O-line shuffling

LSU’s offensive line isn’t set in any way, Miles said, as the line continues to shuffle.

Ethan Pocic is playing both center and right tackle. When Pocic plays right tackle, Vadal Alexander moves to left guard, where he played last season, and Andy Dodd plays center.

Three players are playing left guard, which seems to be one of the weaker spots on the front five. Freshman Will Clapp and sophomore K.J. Malone have rotated at the spot, too.

Jerald Hawkins appears to be set at left tackle. Garrett Brumfield has been playing right guard predominantly.

Injury update

Safety Corey Thompson, suffering from lingering pain in his surgically repaired knee, “should be back soon,” and defensive Deondre Clark, poked in the eye, was held out of the scrimmage for precautionary reasons, Miles said.

Thompson had surgery last winter to repair an ACL tear, an injury suffered toward the end of the 2013 season. Miles suggested that the junior had a second procedure on the knee recently that wasn’t “significant.”

Clark was poked in the eye last week and missed the past two practices and the scrimmage, but the coach said he could have participated Saturday if needed.

Weight talk

Defensive tackle Christian LaCouture and receiver Malachi Dupre are heading in opposite directions.

That’s a good thing.

Dupre, the Tigers’ highly touted sophomore wideout, has gained 10 pounds, while LaCouture has cut 8 percent of his body fat.

Dupre, now at 198 pounds, said he needed the weight to be “physically ready for the SEC.” How do the extra 10 pounds feel?

“Just stronger and more stable,” he said. “I don’t feel slower. I feel better when I’m running. Getting stronger helps everything.”

LaCouture, meanwhile, worked down to 20 percent body fat, a low number for a player that weighs 300 pounds.


Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has not only been working with linebackers, his position group. He’s working with safeties as well, Miles said. … Miles won’t be participating in any St. Patrick’s Day festivities Tuesday, but he will enjoy them on his drive home. “I enjoy driving home on St. Paddy’s Day. It appears to be there’s a lot of fun being had on College (Drive),” he said. “Just driving down the road, it appears there’s a lot of people who wear green accidentally and happen to be very festive, if not belligerent.”

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.