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Friday, May 17, 2013
GTN Mailbag: On passers and catchers

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- GTN writer Gary Laney took your questions, which leaned heavily toward quarterbacks and receivers in the week after LSU took a commitment from junior college wide receiver D'haquille Williams and sent an offer out to quarterback Brandon Harris:

Andy (Portland, Ore.): With Brandon Harris, DeShone Kizer and Mason Rudolph looking like the three main quarterbacks on LSU's wish list, it looks like LSU is going in the direction of the mobile quarterback. Given LSU's history of getting more out of pocket passers (JaMarcus Russell, Matt Flynn) than run-first guys (Jordan Jefferson), should LSU be targeting runners?

Gary Laney: There are two things that jump into my mind that are different now than in the past.

Joe Flacco & Cam Cameron
Before coaching Joe Flacco in the NFL, Cam Cameron had success with a mobile QB in college in Antwaan Randle-El.
One, Cam Cameron is the offensive coordinator. He's a spread-the-field guy who had good success with a mobile quarterback (Antwaan Randle-El) in his last stint as a college head coach.

Second, I think the purpose of a mobile QB has been tweaked in the spread-option offense. Accuracy as a passer and reading coverage has become more valued for mobile QBs, because the option aspect of the offense tends to make defenses have to compromise their pass coverage out of respect for the option game.

So in a sense, I think LSU is looking for a pure passer who can also run, as opposed to an athletic quarterback who can also pass a little.

From @Key504Man: Does Speedy Noil's tweet of his top three (USC, Florida and Texas A&M) mean LSU is signing too many receivers?

GL: LSU has two receiver commitments in the above-mentioned Williams and Tony Upchurch (Pearland, Texas/Dawson) and is a strong contender for four more, with offers to three ESPN 150 receivers in Louisiana (including Noil, who is technically listed as an athlete) and another ESPN 150 receiver in Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan).

That's a lot of receivers in one recruiting cycle and makes you wonder if LSU would take all six if they could. I don't think that's a big factor in Noil's recent tweet.

It wasn't long ago when LSU fans were on "commitment watch" with Noil, and now he's saying LSU is not in his top three. I wouldn't be overly concerned if I were LSU at this point. Noil is looking at the postseason to pick a school, and if he likes what he sees in LSU's offense, I think LSU will be fine with him.

From Rick (Houston): I'm hearing Noil and [Trey] Quinn may have soured on LSU after the Williams commitment. If so, I'd much rather have the guy who'll be around 3-4 years than the guy who will be around one or two years.

GL: I've already addressed Noil, so now I'll take on the Quinn question.

I exchanged emails with Quinn's father, who told me any notion of Trey souring on LSU is false.

"We have a great relationship with LSU and I don't expect that to change," Dave Quinn said.

Having said that, I think it's also clear that, like Noil, Quinn is approaching the recruiting process with eyes and mind wide open to what's out there. I see the same thing from Harris. With this year's crop of in-state players, I've seen a prevailing desire to go through the process and seriously consider what's out there, rather than quickly committing to the state school

Is that a poor reflection on LSU? Perhaps in a small way, from the standpoint that this is an offense-heavy class in Louisiana, and that's the side of the ball where LSU has had recent troubles. If this was a defense-heavy class, I'd imagine LSU would have a couple more top in-state commitments excited to play for the proven John Chavis, "DB U," Brick Haley's NFL factory of a D-line, and all that.

But the hesitancy also reflects the quality of the class in Louisiana. When you're a Quinn or a Harris or a Leonard Fournette or Noil, and you're hearing from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, USC, etc., there's a tendency to want to consider all options.