For a member of a famous restaurant-owning family, Myles Brennan certainly has an atypical relationship with food.
When the vast majority of us go to one of the Brennan’s restaurants, the battle is to keep the weight off, though the fight against ordering Bananas Foster is usually a losing one.
For the LSU sophomore quarterback, the fight has been to put the weight on. Don’t hate on him; he’s a nice young man.
Spindly would be a good word to describe Brennan last season. All 185 pounds of him. His right arm is a howitzer, but you feared if he got significant playing time some burly Southeastern Conference linebacker might break him over their knee.
“I got mad at being skinny,” Brennan said last week, “as weird as that sounds."
So the goal for Brennan leading up to the start of spring practice earlier this month has been to beef up big-time. He packed on the pounds like Christian Bale playing Dick Cheney in “Vice,” gorging himself on a high-calorie diet that would give Jenny Craig a case of the vapors.
“The biggest thing was just forcing the food into my body even though I didn’t want it,” he said. “Just constantly throwing it in there, just paying attention to the calories I was taking in. I would eat 4,000-5,000 calories a day; I’m burning 2,000-3,000 a day at practice.
“It’s crazy thing, but I’m going to keep doing it.”
Three meals a day? Double it for Brennan. Plus the occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You might have seen Brennan on the prowl late at night, not at the campus bars in Tigerland, but in the grocery-store aisles.
“I would go to Wal-Mart to get a night time snack and all I would look at was the calories,” he said. “I don’t really care how it tastes.”
Seriously. Is this kid really a Brennan?
Inelegant as it may be, Operation Weight Gain has had the desired effect. Brennan said he weighed in at 207 Monday, a milepost on the way to his target weight or 210-215 pounds.
His body where he wants it, Brennan has set his sights on giving senior and returning starter Joe Burrow a run for his job. Competitiveness, he insisted, has not taken a back seat to patience.
“I’ve kept my competitiveness,” Brennan said. “Obviously patience plays a big role. That’s why I’m still here. I understand the importance of being patient. But I’m going to compete with Joe every day and the other quarterbacks, and we’re going to make each other better.
“It’s time to get things going. It’s no more, ‘Oh, he’s just a freshman.’ I like to take a leadership role every day. I've jelled very well with the guys. They trust me and I trust them.”
Transferring has become the fashion in college football, especially for quarterbacks. Burrow himself is Exhibit A, deciding after coming up on the short end of a duel with Dwayne Haskins in spring football last year at Ohio State that he needed a new horizon.
But Brennan didn’t want to go down that road. Literally. LSU is where the former St. Stanislaus (Mississippi) standout signed in 2017, and LSU is where he plans to stay. Especially in light of the unspoken expectations that he will be the man to beat for 2020 once Burrow departs. A redshirt last season, Brennan will potentially have two years to be LSU’s starter.
“I’m a firm believer in commitment,” he said. “When I committed here I knew this was the place. I knew I’d have to compete. Nothing has changed since day one. I’m still competing and still waiting for my chance. I firmly believe I’ll get my chance sooner or later.
“Transferring is ideal for some players, but I believe this is where God wants me to be and where I want to be. So I’m going to compete every day and work my butt off.”
And if he works too much off, he could always pound down a couple of PBJs.