BATON ROUGE, La. – If LSU coach Les Miles is looking for motivational speakers for his team before the 2016 season, former Tigers quarterback Rohan Davey might be a solid choice.
Davey, who led the Tigers to the 2001 SEC championship before winning two Super Bowl rings as Tom Brady’s backup in New England, pulled no punches on my radio show Wednesday when discussing junior quarterback Brandon Harris and LSU’s offense.
When asked why 2016 might produce a better Harris than the version that finished seventh in the SEC in quarterback rating and passing yards in 2015, Davey said, "He's got to be better going into your third year. Everything is easier. Things are more comfortable. Guys know you better. You know the playbook. You know your favorite plays. You know the opponent better. Everything is better."
But Davey, who admitted he's tired of seeing his alma mater lose to rival Alabama, was just getting started.
"There's no excuses. You're not going to get any punchlines from me with this one. No excuses. The job has to be done this year," Davey said. "No excuses. It's prime time. Everything's set. The team is set. They're working their behinds off. All we got to do is play (quarterback). We play the position, we're going to put ourselves in position to do great things at the end of the year. There's no excuses this year. None at all."
Davey elaborated on Harris.
"They need him to understand that the position consists of you moving the football," he said. "He needs to be a point guard with this team, and when the time presents itself later on in the season when you're playing against top competition, when they're loading the box to stop Leonard, that's when you have to perform and that's when the guys around you, the receivers, the tight ends, that's when it's time to perform. It's not time to perform against Appalachian State and the teams at the beginning of the season. That's not when you want to be prepared in the passing game to turn it on.
"You want to be prepared and ready when the Alabamas, the Auburns, when those guys come and put seven, eight in the box and say we're going to stop the Heisman Trophy candidate and we want to see if the quarterback with 'the strongest arm in America,' we want to see if you can beat us. Because that's what's going to happen."
Wrapping up his three-minute rant, Davey said what most defensive coordinators already know.
"The blueprint is easy, man. The blueprint to stop LSU is easy," he said. "It's very easy because all teams are going to do is load the box, stop Leonard and then they're going to dare the young quarterback that's not really young anymore, but the unproven quarterback to prove it to them. It's the blueprint.
"It's been like that forever. It was like that when I played. It was like that when Tommy Hodson played. It was like that when Bert Jones played and it's going to be like that after he plays. They have to rise up to the challenge when that happens. And last year they didn't and this year we have to."
In the wide-ranging interview, Davey also discussed his relationship with Jimbo Fisher – whom he credits for his development while at LSU – and an apple juice allergy that nearly took him out of fall camp his senior season.
(You can follow Matt Moscona on Twitter @MattMoscona)
© 2016, Matt Moscona. All rights reserved.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.