Myles Brennan will get the first snap when spring practice begins Sunday, but LSU coaches plan to evenly spread the reps in a three-man starting quarterback competition that will unfold over the next six weeks.
And the battle could potentially result in two guys sharing time next season in something different than the normal two-quarterback system, coach Ed Orgeron said.
“Obviously, No. 1 is giving all three quarterbacks an equal opportunity to show us what they got,” Orgeron said. “All three of them have different skills. (Offensive coordinator) Steve (Ensminger) and I talked: We’re going to do what they can do best.”
Finding a starting quarterback is the top priority of spring, Orgeron said in a meeting with The Advocate on Thursday. A full Q&A with the coach — touching on spring football, changes in the program and a roller coaster first season — will be available online over the weekend and in Sunday's print edition.
The Tigers begin spring Sunday, the first of 14 practices over a six-week period, culminating in the spring game on April 21.
A replacement to quarterback Danny Etling is a focus. Don’t pencil in Brennan because he claimed the backup job last August over current competitors redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse and redshirt junior Justin McMillan, Orgeron said.
“We have a new offense. It’s a level playing ground,” Orgeron said. “Now, when we take the first snap, Myles is going to take the first snap, but we’re going to rotate that the whole spring. We’re going to give them a shot. I want the whole team to see it. Everyone’s going to have a fair shot. Let the best man win.”
Asked if he could envision a scenario in which Brennan is LSU’s starter and Narcisse and/or McMillan plays in certain packages, he said, “No question.”
LSU had a Wildcat package with McMillan last season. The Tigers ran it once.
This is a 12-part daily series counting down the days until LSU football begins spring practice on Sunday.
Each quarterback, the coach said, brings a certain set of skills. He described Brennan as a “drop-back passer,” with his strength throwing the ball from the pocket.
“You don’t want to do a lot of quarterback runs with Myles,” Orgeron said. “That’s not his strength. As for as his awareness on the field, his leadership, his character, all those are A-plus.”
McMillan, a Texas native who redshirted in 2015 and served as a reserve in 2016-17, is described by the coach as a “dual-threat quarterback,” with the ability to throw and run. Narcisse’s strength is running the football, but he possesses a “strong arm,” Orgeron said, and his accuracy has improved since his arrival last January.
“Lowell Narcisse, his strength right now would be running the football. He can really run the football. He’s bigger and more physical,” Orgeron said of Narcisse, a top-10 dual-threat prospect when he signed in 2017 out of St. James. “He had a great 15 bowl practices. The accuracy in which he threw the ball was 10 times better from when he came. He’s healthier now and has tremendous arm strength. It’s going to be a battle between those three guys.”
The three will wage it out for a position that's taken more heat than any other over the last half-decade in Baton Rouge. Orgeron knows it, and he believes the Tigers' quarterback woes are over, the coach said in a separate interview Thursday morning on ESPN 104.5 FM.
"Somebody’s got to step up. That’s been the question at LSU for a long time. We feel like we have three outstanding quarterbacks and a great quarterback coach in Steve Ensminger,” Orgeron said on Off The Bench. “I think it’s finally going to happen. I see talent in all these three guys. I believe we’re finally going to have a quarterback that LSU’s been looking for for a very long time.”
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