In Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, LSU fans got a taste of what redshirt freshman quarterback Garrett Nussmeier is capable of. It wasn’t perfect, but the youngster showcased his dynamic game and what the future could look like.
Nussmeier broke the record for most passing yards in the second half of a game in LSU history with 298 against Georgia.
Head Coach Brian Kelly walked away impressed with what his “gunslinger” was capable of. Despite a few mishaps here and there, his aggressive style of play was a major takeaway.
“He did some really good things. He's called upon to come in and be aggressive, which he was,” Kelly said. “For a guy that's coming in off not playing a lot of football, really pleased.
“Look, there's a learning experience out there. There's some throws that obviously he'd like to have back. "He's got a quarterback mentality that he wants to be aggressive. As Malik said, he's pushing the ball down the field, giving these guys a chance to make some plays down the field, and they did. Sometimes there are plays where they're 50/50 balls, but he gives them a chance to make some plays. He did a nice job with that.”
It was clear Nussmeier fell back on sophomore wide receiver Malik Nabers to be his WR1 once in the game. Connecting with him on a number of deep balls, the trust Nussmeier had in Nabers was significant.
“I feel like Garrett gave us opportunities down the field, trusting us to make plays. We came out and made those plays,” Nabers said.
As the Tigers shift their focus to preparing for the Citrus Bowl, it gives this program the chance to get the most out of their youngsters.
With veterans either locking in on the NFL Draft, senior bowls or rehabbing, Kelly is excited to see what his young guns are made of, including Nussmeier.
Starting quarterback Jayden Daniels will recover over the next 10 days from an ankle injury he has been battling since the Texas A&M game, giving Nussmeier the chance to get some QB1 reps, but other than Nussmeier, Kelly wants all of his young players to step up.
“I think there are some guys where this is going to be an effective four or five practices,” Kelly said. “We really can lean on them and get them a lot of work. We’re not blessed where we have so much depth. We’ve still gotta build this program up through recruiting but we do have some young players we’re anxious to see.”
Look for LSU to test their freshmen to take on an even larger role this month as the Tigers prepare for Purdue in the Citrus Bowl. With time to prepare, and a dominant group of youngsters, LSU can utilize this time to continue looking ahead to the future of this program.