LSU QB Brandon Harris to start opener over Anthony Jennings

BATON ROUGE, La. -- After hinting at it for more than a week, LSU coach Les Miles confirmed Monday that Brandon Harris will start at quarterback in Saturday's opener against McNeese State.

"Absolutely, you betcha," Miles said when asked if Harris would take the first snap. "Unless something in the back end of this week, for some reason, takes place. Right now, it seems like a foregone conclusion."

A sophomore, Harris has led the quarterback competition with last season's starter, junior Anthony Jennings, throughout preseason practice. Miles said Harris hasn't necessarily nailed down the job over the long haul, but it's his job to lose for now.

"He hasn't until he has," Miles said. "But he's done everything we asked him to do, and he continues to improve. He's on course to do all the things that he's wanted to do."

LSU juggled Harris and Jennings throughout the first half of the 2014 season, although Harris started only in the 41-7 loss at Auburn on Oct. 4 in the sixth game of the season. After the Auburn game, Harris appeared in just two of LSU's final seven contests.

Miles did not guarantee that both quarterbacks would play on Saturday against McNeese.

"I'm not going to go into how we look at that, but we feel like both quarterbacks can play, both quarterbacks are improved," Miles said. "They continue to compete, and I wouldn't hesitate, if need be, to play either one."

Jennings ranked 118th nationally in ESPN's Total Quarterback Rating metric, posting a 33.8 raw score. The national average among 126 FBS quarterbacks was a 57.3 QBR.

Miles missed his Monday media luncheon because of a health scare, but after a brief hospital visit, he was back on campus in time for the Tigers' afternoon practice. LSU trainer Jack Marucci had encouraged Miles to get checked out as a precautionary measure.

Miles opened Monday's news conference by channeling Mark Twain, saying, "Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."

"It was kind of an awkward feeling," Miles said of the symptoms that preceded his doctor visit. "You know what, here's what happens: You have those a lot of times, except I just happened to have it right in front of my trainer. You say, 'Boy, I'm not feeling good.' And then suddenly he does his job. He gets me in front of a doctor."

Miles blamed the issues on indulging in coffee on Monday morning.

"I can tell you that I did in fact have too much coffee to drink today," Miles said. "I certainly did not feel real great about that, and I had a very quality medical staff that decided that I should go get some examination and testing, and they did a great job, took care of me, and I appreciate it very much. And now I just want everybody to know that everything's fine."