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In da Film Room: Brandon Harris versus Alabama

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LSU and Brandon Harris stink up Tuscaloosa.

LSU v Alabama
Brandon Harris tries to get as far away as possible from a very smelly offensive line
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I’ve always found that looking out of the window inside a car or other moving vehicle are the most peaceful and serene times of my life. There’s something poetic about the still life of the outside world whizzing by me while I sit and contemplate all of life’s mysteries (including but not limited to: which piece of food is stuck between my teeth?). Driving doesn’t give me the same feeling. Too much pressure to stay vigilant on the road. You can’t “turn off” while driving. I enjoy these quiet passenger seat moments a lot. I’ve had a lot of epiphanies from this position.

One time, I sat in the passenger seat as my mom drove me somewhere. There was pure, unfiltered silence. We had nothing to say to each other at that moment, which was fine. The bright lights of the city flashed by us as we both sat, reflective of our day -- of our lives. Eventually we came to a stop at a red light. Still silence. Finally, she turned her head and said, in a soft voice, "Seth, I need to tell you something..."

Two beats pass. I don't move, I stay staring out of the side window. Another beat passes. She continued, "Seth, you smell really bad right now".

I’m pretty sure that’s analogous to having to play Alabama these days. Everything is peaceful and then wham, you smell.

You can read my analysis on every play that LSU ran in the 1st quarter, here, so this analysis will start in the 2nd quarter. Do click on the link and at least watch the pass plays before coming back to this article.

10:21 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 9 on the LSU 17 -

Obviously, Dural should have caught the ball but the read is pretty bad. Can’t see who ran the route that went over Dural’s shallow cross to see if that route was open but if you’re going to throw the shallow cross you should probably know where the underneath coverage is in the spot you’re throwing to.

10:17 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 9 on the LSU 17 -

I think this is a situation where playing against Alabama can give any quarterback the jitters. Tim Williams came off the edge like a laser beam and Harris probably should have stepped up in the pocket but he bounces to the weak side and doesn’t have anywhere to go with the ball.

8:51 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 25 -

You can notice here how good the Alabama corners are from a technical standpoint when you look at the top side of the screen. Eddie Jackson’s one-hand punch stalls Dupre at the line of scrimmage and then he’s able to flip his hips and ride Dupre so far inside that he and Colin Jeter’s routes almost collide with each other. That’s exactly where Harris is looking to go with the ball first. Add in Teuhema getting manhandled and that’s a recipe for disaster.

6:19 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 12 on the Bama 40 -

Dural’s speed is really the difference here. The safety plays the route fine but Dural just blows by him and Harris throws a great pass on what was his first read. If Harris didn’t like the throw to Dural, he has Jeter wide open on the wheel route. Good job by Harris to finish his drop, hitch and then release even with pressure coming.

3:47 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 32 -

I like this concept that preys on the Alabama pattern matching defense by having both route get really vertical before Dupre breaks to the sideline. The Bama defensive backs lock onto the receivers after a certain number of yards and then man them up. Harris’ throw is sweet. Wide side out route on the money.

3:38 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 45 -

OMG back to back first-down passing plays. Gary Danielson says earlier in the 2nd quarter when it’s still 10-0 that LSU shouldn’t panic and try to manufacture big plays with high risks. The problem is that LSU’s passing game is all about big shots down the field off play action. Here’s another one. You can see two Bama defenders end up on Durals post so Harris makes the right decision to throw Dupre’s post. He’s got to air it out a little more and we probably have a touchdown.

3:18 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the Bama 24 -

LSU is running an interesting weak-side stick concept here although the spacing is a little tight. Usually the read here is the fade and then you throw the stick or the flat route based on the leverage of the defender. Harris throws the fade and I don’t think it’s ever really there.

2:33 2nd Quarter, 3rd & 9 on the Bama 23 -

Not really sure why Harris decides to throw this tight window crossing route to Desean Smith when the weak-side linebacker is level with the route. He’s got to work his eyes back to Dural on the underneath crossing route and pick up whatever yardage he can.

15:00 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 25 -

Harris throws his first interception of the season on this same roll-out concept from the 1st quarter. I don’t know if he’s throwing it to Quinn who is blanketed on the comeback route or he just throws it behind Moreau. It’s a good play by Lee and the Alabama coaching staff understanding the route concepts that LSU will throw at them. Lee doesn’t need to get tight to Moreau on a two-yard flat route and he understands that there is going to be a route behind his head so he trails a bit and makes a nice play. I would tell Harris that he needs to back juke that oncoming defender and then give himself more time to make a play.

11:41 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 9 on the LSU 26 -

LSU is running their triple slant concept and Harris works to his 2nd progression for a good completion.

11:16 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 36 -

What makes great players in any sport is consistency. In this game we’ve seen pretty good plays by Harris but we’ve also seen bad reads and now just a horrible throw.

10:32 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 11 on the LSU 34 -

This is probably the fourth or fifth time that I’ve watched this game and I’m pretty sure each viewing is taking 5-6 years off my life.

6:43 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 4 on the LSU 33 -

Unfortunately this pass gets batted down at the line of scrimmage because Harris makes the right read here to throw the quick in route to Dupre. The one linebacker who doesn’t rush is too far weak to get underneath the throw and Dupre is open.

2:40 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 7 -

Basically, a one-man route concept by LSU. Alabama’s pre-snap alignment is telling LSU that the play action and the double move might actually work. They’re hoping that the weak safety flies up in run support so they can get a true 1v1 on the corner. After that, they use the double move on the corner to get him to bite up and then throw it over his head. Alabama ends up in a cover 3 look post-snap so, now, although that weak safety does come up, that’s actually his assignment so it’s not a big deal for Bama. The corner ends up in off technique, the strong side deep safety ends up rotating weak (to the only wide receiver) and LSU gets sacked.

1:23 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 16 on the LSU 2 -

One-man route concept. Dural is double covered. No where to go with the ball.

12:39 4th Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 10 -

Again, with corner routes, we’re looking to see if anyone drops into the area that the corner route is going to run into. Nobody does, easy completion.

12:23, 12:18 and 12:13 4th Quarter -

Embarrassing.

Embarrassing (the remix)

Embarrassing (feat. More Embarrassment)

Excuse me while I seppuku.