BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — After a brief health scare sent Les Miles to a hospital, the LSU coach returned to practice Monday afternoon and then announced that sophomore Brandon Harris would start at quarterback in Saturday night's season opener against McNeese State.
Harris has been competing with last year's starter, junior Anthony Jennings, throughout the August camp. Miles did not rule out playing two quarterbacks in the game.
"It is a foregone conclusion that Brandon Harris will start against McNeese," Miles said. "He absolutely will take the first snap. I feel like both quarterbacks can play and both can improve."
The 61-year-old Miles normally meets with media during lunchtime on the first day of a game week, but was absent Monday because he was feeling ill, and trainers advised him to seek treatment at a hospital.
"Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated," Miles said. "I had too much coffee to drink and I didn't feel great. For six months, I had no coffee and I have been slowly working it back into my diet. I had an awkward feeling."
Last Friday LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron announced he had undergone treatment for prostate cancer over the previous several weeks. Cameron received a clean bill of health and will be on the sideline this season.
Miles, meanwhile, said his brief hospitalization interfered very little with his head coaching duties.
"I went for some examination and testing. Everything's fine. I am ready to roll," Miles said. "The only thing I did miss was my weekly press conference."
Miles added that he is encouraged about his team's chances of challenging for a Southeastern Conference title and a spot in the College Football Playoffs. The No. 14 Tigers are trying to rebound from an 8-5 2014 season that ended with a loss to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl.
"This team will develop as the season goes on," Miles said. "This is a group which expects to do special things. You look at each group and there are some talented guys there."
Jennings started all but one of the Tigers' 13 games last season. He completed just 49 percent of his passes (111 of 227) for 1,611 yards and 11 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Then during most of the team's summer workouts, Jennings was suspended because of his arrest for unlawful entry of an on-campus apartment. He was reinstated to the team when the charges were dropped in late July.
Harris, who made one start at Auburn as a true freshman last year, had been taking the first snaps with the No. 1 offense throughout preseason practice.
Harris completed just three of 14 passes in a 41-7 loss to Auburn. He played very sparingly over the second half of the season. For the year, Harris completed 56 percent of his passes (25 of 45) for 452 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions.
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Posted on Tue, September 1, 2015
by BRYAN LAZARE, Associated Press