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In da Film Room: Brandon Harris against Western Kentucky

Taking a look at No. 6’s day against the Hilltoppers.

Western Kentucky v LSU
Does Brandon Harris take public transit in Baton Rouge?
Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

I take the subway a lot to get around. Yesterday I took it home from work and it was long and painful. I don’t play a lot of games on my phone, so without having WiFi all I can do is listen to music, stare at people and hope not to fall asleep. I hate falling asleep on the subway because the train stopping at each station always wakes you up. There’s also always some weird dude you’re trying to keep your eye on. It is certainly not a peaceful rest. I do take comfort in the fact that in the subway, unlike everywhere else, I am NOT the weirdest dude in there. Recently, I’ve been trying read books off my phone. I’ve listened to the same songs on my Ipod forever and although I’ll enjoy the soundtrack to Footloose for the rest of my life, it’s probably time to take a break. The problem with this is that the only book I have already downloaded on my phone is Moby Dick. At some point, I felt like it was time, now in my late-twenties, to start going back and reading the classics. Moby Dick, a classic no doubt, is the hardest book I’ve ever tried to read. The words are long and the sentences make no sense for my contemporary brain. I slog through four pages about who knows what. Whales? I have no clue. Unfortunately, I fall asleep. It’s one of those stupid subway sleeps where your head kinda bounces around with the train’s movements and you wake up every stop feeling groggy.

Anyways, here’s Western Kentucky:

ESPN missed the first few plays for whatever reason but here’s the touchdown pass to Dupre on the play that LSU runs more than any other play. You can see the safety cheat on the crossing route and it’s a very good ball by Harris.

4:53 1st Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 16 -

And here it is again: the safety is up so Harris throws it over his head to the post route. Good work in the pocket to step up and try to make a play.

4:04 1st Quarter, 3rd & 6 on the LSU 20 -

The corner being off led Harris to move his eyes from the seam route by Dupre even though it ends up being man coverage. A natural pick occurs because of the off position by the corner, he can’t come down hard on the quick in route and Harris makes the right read.

3:39 1st Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 28 -

I’ve written a lot about how off cornerbacks get outside breaking comeback routes thrown at them when they turn their hips upfield. Here’s an example of a press corner getting an inside breaking hitch route being thrown on him.

2:31 1st Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 39 -

Again, the same deep crossing concept. A good read, again based off the safety, but the throw has to be better. The safety made the choice to cap the post route because Dupre took a very inside release so he ended up right in the safety’s line of vision. I feel like Dupre could have worked outside and up the field more and just beat the corner with speed before breaking it inside but instead he stems inside very early.

1:43 1st Quarter, 3rd & 9 on the LSU 40 -

On the top of the screen, we have the same in route concept that Harris hit Dural on earlier and on the bottom Tyron Johnson is running a vertical route. I think the pre-snap positioning of the safety being shaded to the trips surface gave Harris the idea that he could throw vertical to Johnson. I think he should have gotten off that idea when Johnson couldn’t break down the cushion of the defensive back by the time Harris got to the last step in his drop. He could have then worked his way back and found Dural open on the in route.

8:39 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 21 on the LSU 45 -

Swing screen to Guice who drops it.

8:34 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 21 on the LSU 45 -

4 verts. Harris is a touch late but he almost gets the ball to Dupre. He also almost gets Dupre killed. It’s a tough play on 3rd & 21 so the fact that the ball touched Dupre’s hands is pretty good.

3:58 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 7 on the LSU 7 -

The cornerback on top of Dural is in Cover 2 so in a normal scenario he would be able to get underneath the hook route by Dural with the safety playing over the top but the play action sucks him in enough and he gets lost and can’t find Dural.

1:36 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 11 from the WKU 13 -

Here’s a play where a QB with more decision making abilities and accuracy can throw this ball back shoulder for a touchdown. Instead it’s almost a waste of a down.

14:22 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 39 -

The opening/drop of the Mike linebacker is supposed to tell the quarterback which side of the field to work. The Mike opens weak and Harris still works weak, meaning that window to throw the slant is very tiny so good for him to not throw it. Unfortunately, this now makes him late on the arrow throw to Fournette which he promptly misses.

13:35 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 7 on the LSU 42 -

The technique of the corner on the near side of the screen makes it difficult for him to open up and play the corner route by Dural, which is Harris’ first read in this progression.

12:32 3rd Quarter, 2nd & 16 on the WKU 35 -

Here’s the same slant/arrow combo on the bottom of the screen and the same issue where Harris works the side where the linebacker opens to. He ends up scrambling and making a good play but he could have worked the wide side and hit the second slant for a completion.

11:23 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 19 -

Once that linebacker with the dreads flies out to the flats, Harris should have hit that in route, but instead decides to fit the ball into his fullback for a medium gain. It’s not a great read but when you hit those flat routes in stride, that guy has the ability to turn upfield, usually, and get a few yards.

10:38 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 8 on the WKU 17 -

I think, if you’re going to throw 4 verts in the redzone you need a QB who can throw tight window seams or back shoulder fades. Harris wasn’t ready yet to do either of those things. The seams are very covered here, but a back-shoulder fade could have been open.

7:33 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 28 -

When that safety rolls up hard on the wide side of the field, you’re probably gonna want to throw an in breaking route but there’s no replay so I can’t see when the receiver was supposed to break.

6:54 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 4 on the WKU 26 -

Man coverage plus no routes that break in any direction means you’re going to have to be very accurate down the field and your receivers are going to have to separate in a straight line, which is very hard.

6:11 3rd Quarter, 2nd & 13 on the WKU 27 -

Rollout/smash concept to the field side. Harris is reading to see if anyone can take away the corner route by Dupre. It’s man coverage, so no one does, and he hits Dupre for a big play. Good throw considering there was a defender in his face.

2:19 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 16 on the LSU 39 -

Another LSU classic.

8:56 4th Quarter, 3rd & 8 on the WKU 17 -

The safety gets eaten up by the first post meaning the outside post becomes the answer and Harris throws it for a touchdown. It’s a good play design against the WKU single safety coverage that they had been playing because the outside post should have inside leverage on the corner.