The LSU football program won two dramatic games to conclude the 2020 season, and that momentum should help fuel the Tigers this spring and beyond.
Heading into spring practice, LSU coach Ed Orgeron has several important decisions to make. How aggressive will the new defense be? Can we produce a consistent pass rush with our down four?
Those and many other questions will be a part of a very intriguing LSU spring practice, as well as questions that will linger into summer and fall camp. With all of that, there are three definitive reasons to be high on LSU, even though each comes with his own set of questions.
Not many programs possess the young quarterback talent that LSU has at its disposal. That’s why LSU fans should be very happy about the offensive side of the football. The Tigers coaching staff has some work to do but there’s no shortage of talent.
It’s truly incredible how LSU utilized three different signal callers and won with each of them. Size, arm strength, touch, mobility, each quarterback has something to give. It’s going to be an interesting spring. Here’s a refresher of what LSU has coming back:
Redshirt senior Myles Brennan will be back after being injured for the last seven games of the 2020 season. He produced the most yards per attempt from any of the three quarterbacks, but he also had more weapons than LSU possessed later in the year due to opt outs.
Can Brennan regain his form from last season? He threw for 11 touchdowns to just three interceptions, and produced a quarterback rating of 154.75. Brennan’s experience coupled with his relationships with the current wide receiver core is possibly advantageous for him to start next fall. He will still have plenty of competition.
Sophomore TJ Finley has what NFL scouts love: size and arm talent. The Ponchatoula native is a pocket QB with the mobility to buy time and complete passes after the play breaks down. His arm strength is evident, and that’s why so many programs offered Finley out of high school.
He threw for five touchdowns, but also five interceptions. If Finley gains control of the offense, look out. He’s a player with a tremendously high upside, and LSU could easily trot Finley out onto the field this next fall.
Think about the following situation. Just into the early portion of his first season in college football, Finley was thrusted into the starting lineup and led the Tigers to victory, with the 52-24 victory over South Carolina as Finley’s signature moment.
How does he take that next step? Film. Finley needs to elevate his play based on coverage recognition, first and foremost. He was intercepted too many times. It’s part of the process for a young quarterback, yes, but Finley needs to protect the football.
Sounds pretty easy, but it’s truly not. Now, Finley will have a plethora of wide receiver talent to throw the football. Finley could be the answer because he’s so talented as a passer, and that receiving core will make plays. There’s one more signal caller to discuss for the 2021 season.
Finally, there’s Max Johnson. The big lefty came on towards the end of the season, including leading the Tigers to wins over the Gators in the Swamp and that incredible back-and-forth game with Ole Miss that LSU found a way to win.
Could Johnson be LSU’s long-term answer? Absolutely he could be. He’s a unique talent because he’s built like a pocket passer, yet Johnson can really move his feet and make plays with the ball tucked under his arm.
The dual-threat signal caller is still learning and needs to take that next step with understanding defenses, much like Finley. Still, Johnson threw for eight touchdowns against only one interception.
One could make the argument that Johnson is the best bet because he’s a threat as a passer and a runner. The other two quarterbacks are better suited to stay in the pocket. Regardless, Johnson is a quarterback to watch. He has such a high ceiling with all of his talent. Overall, LSU has a great group of young quarterbacks to watch this next fall. Now, who’s the quarterback going to be?
It’s hard to say. Let the players earn their positions along the depth chart. The quarterback competition will take care of itself. LSU has hope with it’s very talented quarterback roster.