Quarterback talent now abundant at LSU

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TJ Finley
Freshman quarterback TJ Finley throws during the first half of a game between LSU and South Carolina at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 (Photo by: Chris Parent / LSU Athletics).

Remember the days when LSU had trouble finding one good quarterback?

In 2020, it appears head coach Ed Orgeron has at the very least two and quite possibly three.

So, when the question came Saturday night after a 52-24 win over South Carolina about a possible quarterback controversy involving true freshman TJ Finley and injured redshirt junior starter Myles Brennan, Orgeron was ready.

“Not on our part,” said Coach O.

Then he added this nugget.

“But, everyone seems to yearning for it.”

In his first college action and first start, Finley was terrific. The Ponchatoula product showed poise, accuracy and the ability to run when necessary.

At one point in the game, fans chanted Finley’s name.

He earned the plaudits.

However, Brennan has earned the job. His 11 touchdown passes and 1,112 yards passing are the most ever by any LSU quarterback after three games.

With Brennan at quarterback, LSU had scored 130 points in those three games.

So, as many Tiger fans and some in the media fixated on Finley’s fine performance, here’s some numbers they should remember – 36, 45, 44, 19, 17 and 21.

These are not Powerball numbers.

Those are the big plays allowed by the LSU defense in the first half.

South Carolina averaged 7.9 yards per play. Fortunately for the LSU defense, the Gamecocks ran only 51 plays and possessed the ball for only 22 minutes and 26 seconds.

Finley benefitted from something Brennan did not have in his first three starts. That was a potent running game.

The Tigers had 276 rushing yards on 54 carries.

A good running game is any quarterback’s best friend.

Finley has a very bright future. In the present, he certainly is a great goal line weapon. Finley used his 6-foot-7, 242-pound frame to score on a quarterback sneak, ending a 16-play, 75-yard drive. He is a huge weapon in the tight area.

If LSU could have executed the QB sneak, the Tigers would have scored on their final drive and won at Missouri.

This past week, Orgeron expressed complete confidence that Finley would play well. He told the media that Finley was going to get every chance to prove he could handle the job. And if he did, fellow true freshman Max Johnson would likely be a spectator.

That’s exactly what Johnson was, until he replaced Finley with 7:39 to play in the game with the win secured.

At LSU in the 70’s, there was a quarterback controversy. Who was better, current LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger or future NFL starter David Woodley?

Head coach Charlie McClendon solved that issue by playing them both. Of course, McClendon believed in playing two quarterbacks often during his days at LSU.

But that was then.

Now it is Brennan’s job, and one understands the current quarterback chatter more than Ensminger. He lived it in the same stadium.

So, Finley has given more than a glimpse of his considerable skills. Johnson is more of a dual threat passer and runner with great potential as well.

There’s also Garrett Nussmeier, the son of the former Saints quarterback, who is a 2021 LSU commit. He is ranked the seventh best at his position nationally in the class of 2021.

So amazingly, a program that desperately needed transfer Joe Burrow two years ago is awash in quarterback talent.

Go figure.

Now about that defense.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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