Matt Canada’s offense really does change depending on the quarterback.
Just ask Justin McMillan, LSU’s presumed second-string QB who recently turned to the Tigers’ new offensive coordinator with a message.
“This is the most quarterback runs I’ve ever had,” McMillan said he told Canada.
Shot back Canada, “We haven’t even gotten into it yet.”
Danny Etling, the Tigers’ projected starter and leader in the competition, isn’t necessarily getting the same treatment, McMillan said.
“Nah,” he said with a laugh, “I don’t think Danny is rooting for the QB runs as much. … Coach Canada will call to our strength. Whatever quarterback is at quarterback, he’ll call to our strength.”
Since Canada’s hire in December, the coordinator and coach Ed Orgeron have preached that his scheme is contingent on his quarterbacks. He’s used both dual-threat QBs and pro-style guys in the past.
Corey Thompson feels like a seasoned veteran at outside linebacker.
It’s partly a reason, Orgeron admitted over the weekend, that coaches opened up the starting battle. Eleven practices into spring, they’re still trying to identify which offense Canada will run, Etling suggested last week – the one led by a dual-threat QB, like McMillan and Lindsey Scott, or the one manned by a pro-style passer, like Etling.
“Really, that’s why we did it,” Orgeron said of opening up a competition despite having a returning starter back.
“We wanted to see if we’re going to play with a pro-style quarterback or we’re going to play dual-threat quarterback. And we have one pro-style quarterback and three dual threat quarterbacks, and we have a pro-style quarterback coming in,” Orgeron said over the weekend, “and Matt can play with either one. That’s one of the reasons I hired him.”
In McMillan’s mind, there is no quarterback competition this spring. The group is working as a whole to learn the offense. It’s not about battling each other, he said. It’s about helping one another to master Canada’s scheme.
For McMillan – not Etling, remember – that means more running as a quarterback, something he’s never done, despite his classification as a “dual-threat quarterback” out of Cedar Hill High in Texas.
“I feel like it’s just natural,” he said. “It’s the talent I’ve had, but haven’t had to use. … I think I’m a running back sometimes when I have the ball, try to think I’m like (Derrius) Guice sometimes.”
Donnie Alexander knows he’s not 100 percent healthy.
Alexander surgery this week
Donnie Alexander will indeed have surgery on his shoulder, as The Advocate reported Monday from an interview with the LSU linebacker.
Surgery, however, will come this Friday after he participates in spring practices Tuesday and Thursday, a source confirmed. Alexander told The Advocate in an interview last week that he's attempting to go through spring drills while playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder.
Doctors will repair the labrum Friday, forcing Alexander to miss the final week of spring practice in two weeks: two practices and the April 22 spring game. Layton Garrett, a walk-on from West Monroe, filled in for Alexander during some practices this spring. Michael Divinity has also moved from F-linebacker to inside linebacker.