BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Unless LSU coach Les Miles is being coy, he's having a hard time settling on a No. 1 quarterback.
So with the 13th-ranked Tigers opening the 2014 season this Saturday in Houston against No. 14 Wisconsin, Miles said Monday that he'll play two quarterbacks: Sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris.
"Our team understands that we have talented quarterbacks," Miles said. "But right now they have not separated themselves, and we are not certain. If we were certain, then I promise you, we would play the one guy that would give us all the advantage.
"But if two guys can give us greater advantage than one guy, then let's certainly play two," Miles added.
For the past two seasons, LSU has had certainty under center. Zach Mettenberger, now an NFL rookie with Tennessee, was the unquestioned starter and leader of the offense.
Jennings was the clear No. 2 quarterback last season as a freshman, and took over when Mettenberger was hurt in the second half of the Tigers' regular season finale against Arkansas. But while Jennings led LSU to a comeback victory over the Razorbacks, he was inconsistent in the Tigers' Outback Bowl victory over Iowa, completing only 7 of 19 passes with one interception and no touchdowns.
Harris enrolled in January, allowing him to challenge Jennings in both spring practice and fall camp.
For now, LSU's offensive regulars are downplaying whatever inconsistencies may arise from a two-QB system, and playing up the potential benefits.
"It's not disconcerting to me at all," fullback Connor Neighbors said. "They're having a competition and when you have a competition like that, they're getting better and they're pushing themselves.
"It doesn't matter to me and I'm sure it doesn't matter to the rest of the team because whichever one is in the game has to lead us and they know that," Neighbors added. "They've been very assertive and very confident when they're in the huddle."
In recent weeks, Miles has not allowed Jennings or Harris to meet with media. While it is common for Miles to shield freshmen from media exposure, he has also silenced the sophomore, Jennings, in an effort to prevent one QB from becoming the voice of the offense over another.
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen — who hasn't announced a starting QB, either — said the approach of his defense would be similar for either Jennings or Harris, both of whom run well but remain unproven passers.