Three options emerge from spring in LSU’s quarterback competition

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Lowell Narcisse, Travez Moore
Lowell Narcisse (#2) fires a pass as Travez Moore (#49) brings pressure during the LSU spring football game (Photo: Terrill Weil).

In the spring game, LSU quarterback Myles Brennan dropped back to pass and fired a strike downfield, threading the football between three defenders.

First down, Tigers.

It was an impressive throw, one that showed LSU fans the potential possessed by the sophomore from the Mississippi gulf coast.

But at times, Brennan looked like the inexperienced quarterback that he is. He looked especially harried by the occasional inside blitz by the defense.

Meantime, one of Brennan’s competitors, fourth year junior Justin McMillan, looked far more relaxed. McMillan showed poise in the pocket. His throws, while not fastballs that Brennan delivers, were solid.

McMillan also showed the ability to escape pressure, and either prolong a play or scramble for a first down. He also brings another element to the offense since he is comfortable running zone read, a run-pass option that is prevalent in today’s college game.

In a couple of memorable moments in the spring game, McMillan did miss wide receiver Jonathan Giles early on an easy throw but later threw a strike to tight end Foster Moreau on a roll-out play.

Next, LSU will soon head into summer workouts and fall camp. Not much will change.

Head coach Ed Orgeron has said that the quarterback competition is three-way between McMillan, Brennan and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse out of St James.

Narcisse is clearly the best runner, Brennan the best thrower and McMillan the most poised.

Even though McMillan has thrown just one pass in a college game – a 19-yard completion against Jacksonville State in 2016 – he might be the best option to open the 2018 season in Arlington, Texas against Miami.

Brennan and Narcisse clearly have upside but McMillan has a poise that comes from participating, although just in practice, in the top rungs of the SEC.

Maybe there would less pressure on Brennan if he did not start the opener against the talented Hurricanes. If he is the starter, the offensive playbook may have to be slimmed down to accommodate his inexperience.

Last season, Georgia lost quarterback Jacob Eason to injury and turned to true freshman Jake Fromm, who improved dramatically during the season. The end results were enough to warrant Eason’s transfer to the University of Washington.

In a situation much different from the one at LSU now, Fromm was also working behind a solid offensive line while often handing the ball to proven running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

On Thursday night, Michel was drafted in the first round, pick 31 overall, by the New England Patriots.

Early in 2018, Orgeron will lean on his defense, which should be very stout up front. At some point in the season, he will likely turn the offense over to Brennan.

When?

Well, that’s why Orgeron is paid big money. To make a big decision like this one.

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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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