Garrett Nussmeier just keeps raising the standards throughout this fall camp. After a spring session where the early enrollee certainly looked like a player who needed some time to figure out the speed of the college game, he has far exceeded any expectations over the last few weeks.
Nussmeier went 18-of-32 for 308 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the second scrimmage to back up the excellent first scrimmage where he completed 11-of-17 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Orgeron raved about one particular play during the second scrimmage where the offense was in a 4th-and-27 situation and Nussmeier delivered on a 70-yard pass down the field.
Seeing consistency out of the true freshman quarterback was one of the areas the coaching staff wanted to see improvement and Nussmeier is delivering.
"I think Garrett's going to be one great quarterback. He is dynamite," Orgeron said following the second scrimmage.
This is certainly not to suggest that Johnson is in any danger of losing the starting job. He went 11-of-19 for 125 yards and a touchdown with the first team while Nussmeier has worked primarily with the second and third teams in the scrimmages.
"He's had some big plays, Max is our starting quarterback but I have no problem that if Max goes down Garrett getting in the game," Orgeron said. "That doesn't mean Garrett can't compete for the starting position but right now I feel good that Max is our starting quarterback and Garrett's behind him."
When TJ Finley transferred to Auburn and Myles Brennan went down with an arm injury, there was definite concern about the backup options for starter Max Johnson. Nussmeier is quickly erasing those concerns and was described by one team official in practice this week as having that "it factor."
One of the offseason issues Nussmeier needed to address was being more protective of the football and not allowing careless mistakes to ruin otherwise good drives. To correct some of the problems he endured in the spring, Nussmeier spent countless hours with offensive coordinator Jake Peetz, learning the offense front and back while also grasping better control of the protections and defensive looks.
"The guy's a gunslinger," Orgeron said last week. "It seems like he can throw the ball down the field from his hip or any position. He's not being careless with the football."
LSU is in good hands with Johnson behind center but Orgeron and the entire offensive coaching staff can sleep better at night knowing there's a viable option behind the starter. As one team representative put it Saturday evening, Nussmeier is good and only getting better.