Ed Orgeron did not name a starting quarterback after LSU’s first preseason scrimmage Saturday, and he made no indication that a formal announcement was coming anytime soon.
“I’m not going to tip my hand,” Orgeron said, leaning on lectern with a smile.
The LSU coach said the four players in the running — sophomore Myles Brennan, Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow, junior Justin McMillan and freshman Lowell Narcisse — each split reps at starter throughout the closed scrimmage, and the stats he dictated were fairly similar.
Narcisse was the only quarterback to throw a touchdown, Orgeron said, completing 6 of 14 passes for 122 yards.
The Tigers open the regular season against Miami at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 2, and Orgeron said there is no rush to name a starter.
“We’re not pushing that,” he said. “We’re going to let the process happen throughout camp. We haven’t gone through a lot of situations yet. Still early.”
The offense spent four days during the first week of practice installing first down, third-down and red-zone packages, Orgeron said, and this week the team will install goal-line and short-yardage packages.
Not exactly the kind of week in which a starting quarterback might emerge.
But perhaps this week’s offensive installation will stray from LSU’s run-heavy tendencies of years past. Orgeron said during the first week of preseason camp that the offense, in Steve Ensminger’s first full season as coordinator, will be evenly split between run and pass.
On Saturday, Orgeron was more cryptic about what the offense will look like in short-yardage situations.
“There’s certain down-and-distances where we’re going to run the ball, and there’s certain down-and-distances when we’re going to pass it,” he said. “You may see empty set on short yardage. You may see it. You may not, you know?”
Orgeron was much less ambiguous about the performance of LSU’s offense during Saturday’s scrimmage. He said there were “way too many” mistakes and penalties, including a stretch in which they had “two or three penalties back-to-back.”
The offensive line was “not good,” Orgeron said, giving up five sacks and three tackles for loss.
LSU’s running portion of the scrimmage, he said, was “dominated by the defense,” and he said sophomore outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson led the team with seven tackles, one tackle for loss, two sacks, two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup.
“We made some good plays, but we shot ourselves in the foot with too many penalties,” said Orgeron, whose Tigers tied 62nd nationally in 2017 with 75 total penalties. “Really, it was a lot of offsides, holding, just penalties that we need to eliminate. First preseason game, guys are fired up, guys that want to make the depth chart, trying to do too much. We’ve got to settle down.”
There was no live tackling in the scrimmage, and Orgeron said no player was going to be taken to the ground during preseason camp.
LSU resumes practice Monday and will have two more scrimmages on the Saturdays leading up to the season opener.
Total stats dictated by Orgeron:
- Justin McMillan 8 of 13, 83 yards, long of 30
- Myles Brennan 5 of 10, 94 yards, long of 36
- Lowell Narcisse 6 of14, 122 yards, 1 touchdown, long of 40
- Joe Burrow, 7 of 13, 118 yards, long of 37
- Chris Curry, 16 carries, 43 yards
- Nick Brossette, 10 carries, 36 yards
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, 9 carries, 17 yards
- Ja'Marr Chase, 3 receptions, 52 yards
- Derrick Dillon, 3 receptions, 41 yards
- Justin Jefferson, 3 receptions, 42 yards
- Jonathan Giles, 2 receptions 58 yards
- Nick Brossette had "a couple out of the backfield," and Terrace Marshall and Drake Davis had "long ones."
- K'Lavon Chaisson, 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries and a pass breakup
- Devin White, 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 2 quarterback hurries
- Damon Clark, 5½ tackles
- Michael Divinity, 2 sacks
- Cole Tracy, 3-for-3 field goals, 1-for-1 from 20-30 yards, 1-for-1 from 40-45 yards, 1-for-1 from 45+