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In da Film Room: Brandon Harris vs. South Carolina

Film Room looks at how Brandon Harris fared against the Gamecocks.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

I highly suggest going back and reading the previous articles in this series if you haven't already. You'll get a better idea of the reads associated with each concept as we see how Brandon has progressed throughout the season.

Game 1Game 2Game 3Game 4 and below is Game 5 versus South Carolina

11:02 1st Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 25 -

I think there are two theories when you have a rollout play and subsequently a flood pattern concept: either you have your QB read it from the deepest route to shortest route or vice versa. It ends up depending on which routes you're running and your philosophy as a play designer. On this play, the defensive end/rush linebacker who we are trying to suck in with the play action doesn't bite hard enough and he's in Brandon Harris' (#6) face right when he turns around so he immediately dumps the ball to Leonard Fournette (#7) and it's a good play.

9:22 1st Quarter, 2nd & 9 on the LSU 38 -

This is one of those plays where you see Harris being a little scared of being in the pocket. He needs to step up into the pocket instead of immediately rolling out. He gets scared because Fournette gets out-leveraged to the inside on his block but he has to see that JD Moore (#44) is there to clean up.

9:09 1st Quarter, 3rd & 9 on the LSU 38 -

What I like about this throw is that Harris hitches twice after he completes his dropback. This tells me that he went through his reads before hitting Dural on the in cut.

8:08 1st Quarter, 2nd & 4 on the USC 38 -

Again, we have the end reading the play fake very well and then trying to contain Harris. Remember how hungry EMU was to stop any LSU run. South Carolina, so far, is playing more conservatively (read: better) and this forces Harris to have to make another quick throw to the flats.

7:10 1st Quarter, 1st & 10 on the USC 32 -

The fake to Darrius Guice (#5) is designed to suck the linebackers up so that Harris can throw that intermediate crossing route behind their heads. It does to a degree, but Harris is afraid of the safety lurking over top of that route. Unfortunately, Harris sticks to this route instead of coming off it and finding Tyron Johnson (#3) open and throws incomplete.

1:58 1st Quarter, 2nd & 11 on the USC 44 -

LSU is running a shallow cross concept and Harris is reading the bottom of the screen first to see if the hook/curl defender gets enough depth to stop the dig route. The South Carolina linebacker is kind of in no mans land but is deep enough so Harris goes underneath to Dural. They never showed a replay on this.

15:00 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 14 on the USC 36 -

With the shallow cross concept here again, against a blitz, usually your hot receiver is going to be that shallow cross route and Harris is right to pick Dural again, but he needs to throw the ball more accurately.

14:55 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 14 on the USC 36 -

With it being 3rd and long, South Carolina drops a lot of guys deep so it's good on Harris for not forcing a ball to one of his receivers. This looks like 4 Verts and I've talked about how important it is on this concept to come down to your underneath check down. Harris does this for the first time this season (if I'm not mistaken) but then throws a very bad pass...

9:41 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 6 on the USC 41 -

Here's that damn shallow cross concept again. It's a fine read by Harris though he does need to get the ball down a bit.

9:32 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 6 on the USC 41 -

My problem with this is that I don't know if there was any reason for Harris to leave the pocket after his first read, Desean Smith (#89) didn't come open. He ends up scrambling for the first down but if he would have waited, he could have hit two underneath targets for first downs anyways.

8:30 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the USC 13 -

We get the same strategy by South Carolina to contain Harris on the play actions here again. Harris dumps it off in the flats again. The problem here is that there is a assignment mistake by either the tailback or the fullback because they both run the same pattern.

7:47 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 8 on the USC 10 -

I've talked about how we should be throwing endzone fade routes against on corners. This is a good example. Harris puts the ball in a spot where only Dupre can get it.

7:27 1st Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 25 -

"Off cornerbacks get hitch routes thrown against them for completions" - Seth Galina, every day of my life. I might put that on my tombstone also. LSU has run this play action concept the whole year and it makes for such an easy throw because the flat defender is late getting underneath because of the play action.

5:10 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the USC 44 -

Here's a designed swing screen pass to Fournette, there's no read but Harris lets Fournette catch it in stride.

4:48 2nd Quarter, 1st & 19 on the LSU 47 -

Like the prior week against EMU, LSU is running an RPO with a zone run and backside slant to Johnson. Harris' read is going to be the 'backer lined up on the near hashmark and when he runs laterally and vacates the space for the slant, Harris pulls the ball. Unfortunately, South Carolina just happens to have the perfect defense called. The weakside defensive end drops back in coverage right where the slant route is happening.

4:00 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 13 on the USC 47 -

ESPN doesn't give us a replay on this throw to Smith. I feel like the read for Harris is that weakside linebacker who runs with Smith down the field. With that defender ending up on Smith's back, it's possible that Harris should have been throwing to Dural on the in route where that linebacker moved from.

1:19 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 34 -

I like the way that Harris buys time before Fournette gets open for the screen pass.

1:11 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 49 -

Harris ends up yelling at Tyron Johnson, a freshman, after Harris looks the safety off and then tries to hit Johnson. Johnson runs deep and maybe he was supposed to run a curl route. And then Harris' ball to Fournette is a little outside and Fournette drops it.

1:06 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 10 on the LSU 49 -

I've gotten on Harris for how slow his decision making is when throwing seam passes. This is one, however, is pretty nice. You can see him start his throwing motion before Dupre is open. With that said, the throwing motion is still really long and he can't put that ball too far inside or bad things will normally happen but on this play it worked out.

0:53 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the USC 23 -

Very bad timing either by Harris or Dupre on this tunnel screen pass. Harris is ready to throw way before Dupre is coming back for the ball and this gives time for the corner to come down and make a play.

0:29 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 7 on the USC 20 -

Just when I praise him for his seam throw, Harris does this. The throw is late and its beats me why he wants to throw seams versus split field safeties. Sigh.

0:24 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 7 on the USC 20 -

Here's some confirmation bias about how great it is when quarterbacks stay in the pocket. Harris wants to run but checks himself (before he wrecks himself) and with Johnson running a crossing route against man coverage, he gets a step and Harris finds him.

0:14 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 10 on the USC 13 -

I don't understand why LSU runs all five receivers on vertical routes into the endzone when they can certainly run an actual concept and then call their last timeout if needed. Can't blame Harris on this one, no one was open.

0:08 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 10 on the USC 13 -

Another long distance concept run by LSU. Harris really has no where to go with the ball.

12:04 3rd Quarter, 2nd & 6 on the LSU 24 -

South Carolina is out here playing Cover 3 and what do Cover 3 corners get thrown on them? Hitch routes.

11:25 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 30 -

I think Harris wants to hit Fournette first but when he's covered, Harris comes off and finds Trey Quinn (#8) on a deep comeback. South Carolina is in Cover 3 again, so Quinn runs the corner off deep before breaking off his route. The timing looks really good here because if not that corner would be coming down and making a play if the ball was any later.

8:06 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 41 -

These are the times you get in trouble when you run the type of offense that LSU runs. This is a one receiver concept and if he's not open, we're in trouble. I don't know why anyone feels the need to protect with 9 players but what do I know.

7:21 3rd Quarter, 2nd & 22 on the LSU 40 -

Long yardage quick screen throw to Johnson. Dural whiffs on his man and then Dupre picks up the slack but then loses his leverage and Dural ends up just watching Johnson.

6:40 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 24 on the LSU 37 -

Obviously, not a lot in the playbook for 3rd and 24 except the classic, "run 4 Verts, throw the seam and then tip it to the fade runner in stride" and LSU executed that to perfection. Listen, the throw in the seam is probably fine. Smith doesn't pick up the first down if he catches it but the decision to throw the seam is good. The ball is high, though.

14:19 4th Quarter, 1st & 10 on the USC 35 -

When you throw bubbles on the money you give your receiver a chance to make a play even though there is an unblocked player. Harris is pre-snap reading the bubble to see if there is a player that can come down quickly and stop it. If there is, he's gonna give the ball to Williams in the backfield.

5:53 4th Quarter, 2nd & 12 on the LSU 46 -

Same concept here as the last play. When that nickel cornerback blitzes, Harris makes the right decision to pull it and throw to Dupre. The problem is that South Carolina is rotating to a Cover 3 so that strong safety is already coming down based on his assignment on the play and lucks into being in the right place at the right time.