HOOVER, Ala. — Players can transfer, declare for the NFL draft and leave Les Miles dangerously thin at quarterback, but the LSU coach is always sunny.
Even after senior Rob Bolden, the most experienced player remaining in camp who could have taken a snap from center this season, announced intentions to transfer earlier this week, Miles remains sunny about the Tigers’ prospects.
One might even say Miles sounds, ahem, em-Bolden-ed.
“Who's picked?” the 10th-year Tigers head coach said at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. “I would be willing to bet that not many picked Auburn a year ago ... I like us. I like us in every game.”
Even if it seems LSU has lots of reasons not to be so likable in every game.
Seven Tigers declared early for the draft. Four more have announced intentions to transfer, including quarterbacks Stephen Rivers (Vanderbilt), Hayden Rettig (Rutgers) and Bolden (Eastern Washington), who had been a backup quarterback before trying wide receiver in spring practice.
Before that, he’d been a part-time starting quarterback at Penn State. He transferred to LSU after the Jerry Sandusky investigation.
Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron now have two scholarship quarterbacks, sophomore Anthony Jennings and signee Brandon Harris, plus three walkons.
Again, Miles remains sunny.
“Offensively, quarterback will be Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris,” Miles said. “It will be a very competitive event from the start to the finish. “Cam Cameron, a guy who’s made a career mentoring quarterbacks, is our offensive coordinator, will do the exactly right things with those guys. You’ll see how well a freshman can execute at quarterback.”
That statement seems to favor Harris, who enrolled early and was ranked as highly as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country. ESPN.com ranked him as the nation’s No. 37 overall prospect.
Oh yes, Miles is sunny about Harris.
“The key piece is he really throws the ball well,” Miles said. “I mean, he is a guy that has real strength. He's innately accurate. He's got great footwork. He can extend a play, get out of the pocket, move around. But probably the best thing about him is he anticipates that great play, too. He has the opportunity to see it and has the arm to get it there. There's some real advantages with him.”
Miles’ sunny take on his quarterback situation seems to have infected his players.
“I think we are in a great situation at quarterback at LSU, ” running back Terrence Magee said. “As far as we can see as players in the offense, they are making it a tough decision for Coach Cam and Coach Miles on who is going to be the starter for game one.”
Hey, it’s Miles’ camp, where the grass is always greener right here.
“So, what generally seems to me to be our position is, ‘Don't bother us. We don't care. We just want to work. We want to improve. We want to play one game at a time. We want to point at the next opponent’,” he said. “We understand that doesn't mean that we're in the immediate talk, but, if we continue to do the things we've done in the past, we'll earn our way.”