LSU’s starting quarterback position will indeed be up for grabs this spring.
In his first comments since his hiring in mid-December and his most candid discussion of the QB spot, offensive coordinator Matt Canada proclaimed the job open during an interview Wednesday on ESPNU.
“It’s a wide-open spot,” he said. “You come in with a new coach, it’s a clean slate.”
Coach Ed Orgeron echoed the same statement through December, announcing that he expected Canada to hold an open quarterback competition this spring. The Tigers begin spring drills March 11, with a host of quarterbacks set to battle for the much-maligned position.
Seniors Danny Etling and Brandon Harris have started a combined 25 games. Third-year sophomore Justin McMillan and redshirt freshman Lindsey Scott will also battle it out.
Lowell Narcisse, a rookie who enrolled in January, is expected to be finished with his recovery from a torn ACL by spring. His final doctor’s visit is Feb. 17. Preferred walk-on Caleb Lewis, a 6-foot-4, 218-pounder, also enters his third full year.
Signee Myles Brennan, one of the nation’s most highly rated pro-style QBs, signed with LSU on Wednesday and will arrive in the summer.
During the interview Wednesday on ESPNU, Canada suggested that LSU might stick to a more pro-style offense, but he’s not against allowing a dual-threat QB run the unit. He plans to base the offense on whichever quarterback wins the job.
“I’m really happy what we’ve done (on offense in the past), being a pro-style offense that utilizes our strengths, spreads the ball around, but we want to run the ball,” he said. “If you run the ball in the red zone, you score points, score touchdowns. Touchdowns win games.
“If we have a mobile quarterback, a quote spread running quarterback, that’s what we’ll do. It’s not clinic talk that we’re going to fit to our talent. Whoever the quarterback is ... who’s going to take care of the football the best, that’s a winner, that’s accurate on third-and-5 — when you’re on the sideline saying, ‘Hey, they’ve got to throw it right now.’ Whoever that guy is, that’s who the quarterback will be and our offense will fit around that.”
If the offense will be predicated on the QB, Canada has several options this year — pro-style guys, dual-threat QBs and players with a mixture of both.
Etling, the incumbent starter and rising senior, is a prototypical pro-style quarterback who’s shown pocket awareness and a scrambling ability. Brennan, the incoming freshman, is the No. 6 pro-style QB in the 2017 signing class.
Harris is a rising senior with 15 starts to his name, a player with a strong arm and the ability to outrun and muscle through defenders at times. McMillan has been listed as both a pro-style and dual-threat quarterback.
Narcisse is a top-10 dual-threat quarterback in this class. Scott simulated Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson during bowl preparation.