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LSU quarterback Max Johnson (14) participates in a drill Friday, August 6, 2021, on the Tigers' first day of fall practice on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

Max Johnson stepped to the front of a group of quarterbacks and waited to receive one of the first snaps of LSU’s preseason practice.

The sophomore then gathered the ball, dropped back and waited for his receiver to reach the top of his route. Johnson released a pass. Too long, it bounced against the grass.

“It’ll take a minute to figure out the timing,” passing game coordinator DJ Mangas said.

What would have been four weeks of competition between Johnson and fifth-year senior Myles Brennan has instead turned into a month to prepare Johnson to start the season opener Sept. 4 against UCLA after Brennan broke his left arm earlier this week. So Johnson readied to throw again, in command of the offense on the first day of fall camp Friday afternoon.

While Brennan underwent surgery, Johnson became the undoubted starter, and he received the first reps during practice, followed by freshmen Garrett Nussmeier, Matt O’Dowd and Tavion Faulk, in that order. O’Dowd and Faulk are walk-ons, making Johnson’s health a priority this season.

The practice, which LSU opened for 20 minutes, was light as players went through the first stage of the reacclimation period. They only wore helmets, waiting for pads to arrive in the coming days, but at one point Johnson removed his helmet to spray water over his head as he stood in the sun.

Johnson and the rest of the quarterbacks mostly worked with tight ends and running backs during the open period on a variety of routes.

When they threw to the running backs, juniors John Emery Jr. and Tyrion Davis-Price went first. Coach Ed Orgeron, who will speak later Friday evening, wants them to have break-out seasons and recently recognized Davis-Price for weighing 225 pounds.

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Emery went through practice without limitations, a good sign for his health after he spent most of spring practice in a non-contact jersey while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He hadn't participated in the spring game.

All across the field, players drilled and coaches instructed. New offensive line coach Brad Davis, who LSU hired this summer after parting ways with James Cregg, yelled for most of the open period.

Demanding a certain level of execution, Davis made players re-do their task multiple times as his voice carried through the air.

Roll call

Players missing during Friday’s viewing of practice

  • OL Charles Turner, So.

Players wearing gold, non-contact jerseys

  • DE Ali Gaye, Sr.
  • WR Devonta Lee, Jr.
  • RB Josh Williams, So.
  • LB Antoine Sampah, So.
  • TE Aaron Moffitt, Sr.
  • DT Glen Logan, Sr.

Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com