Robert Griffin III, Teddy Bridgewater and Zach Mettenberger – LSU quarterback Brandon Harris reached out to all of those current NFL quarterbacks recently.
Why? He hoped to gain some knowledge on how they progressed from their sophomore years to their junior seasons – the same thing Harris plans on doing in 2016.
They told him to watch video of himself and become obsessed with that practice. They talked to him about leadership. They gave him “different tools,” Harris said, that he plans to add to his repertoire.
“Those guys hit their junior year and hit that stride,” Harris said. “That’s kind of what we want to do.”
Harris and the Tigers are scheduled for their final full, 100-play scrimmage Saturday in Tiger Stadium before closing out spring practice with next week’s spring game.
A month into spring drills – the third of his career – Harris says he sees a “smoother” offense this time around. The once young pieces of the Tigers’ unit are older now. They’re fitting together, he says.
He’s been practicing new drills, too, focused on touch passes. In one, he throws balls over the crossbar of the goal posts.
He’s learning from his competitor – Purdue transfer Danny Etling – in a quarterback competition that’s much different then the one Harris and Anthony Jennings were embroiled in over the previous two years.
“That’s one thing I’ve taken from Danny’s game,” Harris said. “Touch has been a thing I’ve tried to use this entire spring rather than … I know I can gun it in there, but I’ve been trying to use touch. You don’t have to kill guys.
“It’s almost like golf. Sometimes you need a drive and sometimes you need a putt,” he said.
Harris began spring practice receiving most of the first-string snaps, he said in Week 2 of drills, but coach Les Miles said last week that the quarterbacks split snaps with the starting group during a scrimmage, rotating between the reserves and the No. 1s.
How big of a gap is there between the two QBs? It’s unclear. Miles said after the first week of spring that Harris is “probably the starter” but that Etling is “coming like heck.”
“Brandon is our leader right now,” receiver D.J. Chark said last week. “Danny is constantly pushing him.”
Despite more than two years in Cameron’s system, Harris says he’s far from done with the learning aspect.
“You don’t want to be in a situation where you feel like every day is a learning day. Nowhere near have I reached my upside,” he said. “Every day I try to go out there and find something to get better on, whether that’s throwing a flat route better where I can throw it more on an uphill shoulder. Going in your third spring, I don’t feel like everything is a new day, but I try to figure out one thing I want to come out and get better on.”
Malone overcomes concussion
K.J. Malone sustained a concussion during the first week of spring practice, he said Thursday, but the rising junior offensive lineman says he’s fully healthy now.
Malone participated with the first-string offensive line during Thursday’s practice, playing right tackle instead of Toby Weathersby. Malone suggested he was in the lineup while a few others were nursing injuries.
Either way, the Ruston native appears to be the Tigers’ jack-of-all trade lineman, the sixth guy for a group that regularly suffers bumps and bruises. He’s practiced at left guard, left tackle, center and right tackle during the spring.
He appears to be the immediate backup at both tackles, the third option at center and the Tigers’ fourth option at the guard spots.
How’s he keep it all straight?
“Just stay focus and listening to the coaches,” a smiling Malone said.
Malone’s father, former NBA star Karl Malone, plans to be in town next week for the Tigers’ final practices of the spring. He’ll watch the spring game, too, K.J. said.
“He’s proud of me,” Malone said. “Whether I’m with the 1s, 2s or 3, he said he’d be proud of me.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.