It was like one of those scenes in a classic movie: the long goodbye.
As us media types headed for the exit at LSU’s football practice Friday morning, we strained for one last, knowing glimpse of how Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris were looking as the Tigers went to scrimmage plays.
A pass? A handoff? Show us SOMETHING!!!
Then the Les Miles iron curtain slammed for good. That was the last practice we’re going to see this fall.
I’m not crying too much. While the media craves as much access as we can possibly get, the prospect of not having to watch the Tigers jog and slog through individual drills in the Amazonian heat has its upside. Now pardon me while I turn my air conditioner down another two degrees.
So we are left with inferences and educated guesses as to who will take that first snap three weeks from Saturday against Wisconsin, and who ends up leading the Tigers most of this 2014 season.
I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Harris going back to the spring game. Not that he doesn’t and won’t make mistakes in action, but he has a quarterback’s presence that belies his youth.
Maybe it’s the sportswriter in me, but I also like his outgoing personality.
We’ll get to talk to Jennings and Harris on Sunday at LSU media day, but otherwise they’ve been subjected to a gag order from Miles. He wants them concentrating on football, Miles said, and generally his freshmen are off limits to the media.
From the media perspective, this rule stinks. Any player good enough to play for LSU has dealt with dozens if not hundreds of media interviews during his high school years and recruitment. But I digress.
Despite the ban, Harris popped in one day this week to seek out and apologize to a reporter for nearly bumping him with his car leaving the lot at the LSU football complex while we headed to the indoor practice facility for interviews. It was only for a moment, but I liked the initiative and character it showed on Harris’ part.
It also makes me think that the media ban on the two quarterbacks is mostly to protect Jennings, who clearly is the guy trying to protect the job he inherited from Zach Mettenberger late last season. His is the more vulnerable position. To his credit, Jennings was an excellent and outgoing interview after leading LSU to the win against Arkansas.
Of course this is all a fraction of what’s important. Jennings throws well on the run, and both will be called upon to run and throw this season. Harris seems a little better out of the pocket, but as we said they won’t be staying there.
My pick continues to be that Jennings will take the first snap against the Badgers, but that Harris will badger him to the point he slowly slides past him during the season into the more dominant quarterbacking role.
Fullback Connor Neighbors is ready to work with whoever is behind center.
“It’s just going to come down to leadership, being assertive and just knowing what to do,” Neighbors said. “You’re going to have veterans helping you along the way. Whichever quarterback it is that wins the starting position has to know that they’re the starter and that they have to lead our team in certain situations because they’re the only ones talking in the huddle.”
It never seems a two-quarterback system is the best way to go, but considering their styles are so similar perhaps playing both quarterbacks all season is how it will pan out.
“I don’t think it matters,” Neighbors said. “As long as we execute our assignments, it doesn’t matter who they put in.”
Brave words. We won’t see if he’s right until they play for real.
Here’s looking at you, kids.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.