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In Da Film Room: Brandon Harris vs. Arkansas

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Film Room zooms in on Brandon Harris’ performance against the Razorbacks.

Arkansas v LSU
Stop! Harris time!
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

This game sucked. Remember when life was good before we played Alabama? Me neither. Ole Miss is next. That game is gonna suck too.

Some pass plays missing because I couldn’t find the full game on Youtube after a very thorough search that lasted ~37 seconds.

There is a play in the 4th quarter where I complain about the camera angles down below so I’m going to write about the same thing up here. I get that the QB is the position that the networks want to show off the most but we can’t evaluate QB’s if the camera zooms in on them on each snap. A lot of my analysis are educated guesses based on where the defensive backs ended up after the ball was thrown. I would love for all of us to get a fuller picture of what is happening downfield, but sometimes that’s not possible.

12:04 1st Quarter, 1st & 10 on the 50 -

LSU gets what they want with the play action. The weak side corner jumps down into the box and Dupre is crossing over his head for what should be a big play. This is, obviously, a bad throw from Harris.

11:17 1st Quarter, 3rd & 14 on the LSU 46 -

Can’t see the route concept but the pocket collapsed way too fast for Harris to ever have a chance at completing a 3rd & 14 throw.

7:57 First Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 17 -

Just a simple hitch route that we can’t complete. Harris knows pre-snap that he’s going to go to Dupre because the playaction is gonna suck the linebacker in and the safety being off is giving Dupre a lot of underneath leverage.

7:47 1st Quarter, 3rd & 10 on the LSU 17 -

We can only guess if anyone was open downfield based on the camera angle. Still, throw needs to be better.

5:05 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 34 -

The issue here is Mouton not sealing off the end of the line. He’s got to deal with anything from inside to out. He gets too focused on the dude who is covering him and not blitzing. This isn’t an easy thing to do because the linebacker delays before blitzing but I think it’s technically Mouton’s assignment.

3:46 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 8 -

Screen.

3:23 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 28 -

Dupre gets good inside position against his defender and it’s Harris’ first read in the progression. When the inside linebacker flies out in coverage against Fournette to the weak side flat, Harris has a window to throw the ball.

2:52 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 1 on the LSU 36 -

This is cool because it looks like the throw to Dural is pretty late in the progression. Harris stays in the pocket and is able to cycle through before hitting Dural for a first down.

2:26 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 41 -

Here’s a good Cover 3 beater. Harris makes the decision to throw to Diarse on the comeback when his slot receiver is taken out of the play with a collision. The ball is a bit behind but the cornerback is unable to make a play.

2:01 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the Ark 44 -

Again, as I’ve said throughout this series, we want to throw hooks, hitches and comebacks against off corners. The timing of the play is a little off: Harris gets to the end of the drop-back and then just waits for Diarse to get break off his route. He stares at him the whole way. Usually you have a route ready to be thrown when you finish your drop-back and then you move on to your next read through hitch steps.

1:36 2nd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the Ark 34 -

This looks like a sort of pre-snap RPO (run-pass option) where Harris is looking to see if anyone is taking away the slant route. Against this Arkansas look, there is a lot of grass for Dupre to work in to so Harris throws the ball instead of putting it into Fournette’s belly.

1:15 2nd Quarter, 2nd & 1 on the Ark 25 -

Not sure whether I want to give Harris the benefit of the doubt on this one. Yes, Dupre is fouled but I’m not sure it was ever a good idea to throw the fade route. It looks like Harris made his mind up before letting anything develop and just threw it up.

1:07 2nd Quarter, 1st & Goal from the Ark 10 -

As a quarterback coach, I do a lot of drills where we try to simulate weird events that occur. My thinking is that if you do enough different types of escapes from the pocket and enough different angle throws, even though the exact same events will never occur, you’ve done at least very similar things and your brain ends up being able to make quicker adjustments.

:36 2nd Quarter, 2nd & Goal on the Ark 6 -

I get that Harris wants to throw the fade here because it the corner was down, so you can almost treat this route combo like a smash concept with a corner route but this throw is just so bad. He’s got to put it on the back pylon.

:30 2nd Quarter, 3rd & Goal on the Ark 6 -

I remember watching this play live and hating it. I still hate it. I see a backside out route that probably should be the first read in the progression. A route that’s going to break open when Harris gets to the last step of his drop. From there, he can scan to Dupre who is coming all the way over on a crossing route. Instead, Harris stares at Dural on the hitch route who is covered man to man the whole time and gets bailed out by a lucky deflection. It’s unfortunate that LSU scored here because it gave us all hope that they might come back and win the damn game.

14:52 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 33 -

LSU puts Dural in a short motion to give him more room to run his deep out breaking pattern. Again, Arkansas is in a Cover 3 shell and none of the underneath defenders are able to get in the throwing lane to disrupt the out route.

3:45 3rd Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 41.5 -

We can see from the back angle that the dig route and the post route from the right side of the formation are covered well and running into free defenders so you can’t blame Harris much. The backside comeback was probably open but you can’t expect a young QB who is now moving around to his right in the pocket to come all the way left on an intricate timing route.

2:01 3rd Quarter, 3rd & 12 on the LSU 39 -

If I’m not mistaken, Arkansas already has 5 sacks in this game so I don’t know if I want to blame a true sophomore for wanting to get the ball out of his hands quickly even the pocket is kinda OK.

12:31 4th Quarter, 3rd & 14 on the LSU 11 -

I mean, whatever, sometimes you gotta throw the ball up and hope the defensive back makes a bad read and jumps too early.

12:17 4th Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 44 -

Alright, let’s do it again.

12:08 4th Quarter, 2nd & 10 on the LSU 44 -

This curl-flat read is by the book. The problem is a more mature QB might have waited a bit to see who declared himself to the flat. He saw no one on Dupre running the shoot route and he was open. If he waits a tick, maybe he sees that defender run to the flat and he hits Dural for a bigger gain. Of course, the ball is bad and that’s what causes Dupre to get lit up for a minimal gain.

11:38 4th Quarter, 3rd & 8 on the LSU 42 -

Not sure what happens here besides KJ Malone getting beat to the outside which causes Harris’ ball to hit the turf.

4:47 4th Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 30 -

It bothers me how often ESPN/CBS just doesn’t show any replay. I wish I could give more analysis but, man, sometimes it’s tough from the broadcast view.

4:28 4th Quarter, 1st & 10 on the LSU 43 -

This is 4 Verts from a trips set. Arkansas is in Cover 4 but the safeties drop so far back that there is a lot of room to work the crossing route over the linebacker and in front of the strong side safety.

4:12 4th Quarter, 1st & 10 on the Ark 33 -

If this is 4 Verts, I don’t like that Diarse took an inside release. With the nickel now turned inside he can see the throw and make a play. I think it’s a good read by Harris.

4:05 4th Quarter, 2nd & 10 on the Ark 33 -

One of the few times this year that LSU comes out in an empty set. The pocket is fine here but, as noted, Harris is scurred and bounces out without needing to.

3:55 4th Quarter, 3rd & 10 on the Ark 33 -

I think that Harris has Diarse on the comeback but just misses him.

3:48 4th Quarter, 4th & 10 on the Ark 33 -

Deep comeback against an off corner. Arkansas was bailing hard on this drive and Harris managed to take advantage of it finally.

3:32 4th Quarter, 1st & 10 on the Ark 11 -

Let us cap this awful game off with a bad interception. Harris neither throws the ball to Dupre’s back shoulder nor to the back pylon. Hoorah. Game over.