And then there were three. Over the weekend, Ed Orgeron and the LSU coaching staff learned the offseason quarterback battle would be one short moving forward as TJ Finley announced his decision to transfer.
It was one that wasn't totally unexpected for Orgeron but stings nonetheless as he knows better than most the character of Finley and his immense potential. In just one meeting with Finley, Orgeron could see how difficult the decision was for the Ponchatoula, Louisiana native but knows that wherever he winds up, he'll do a great job.
"TJ did everything right, we had a meeting, it was a very hard decision for him," Orgeron said on 104.5 ESPN. "He felt that it was the best decision for him and his career. I tried to have him stay because I think he's a great young man, a great quarterback but it was something he needed to do. He did it with class and wherever he goes, someone's going to get a great young man and a great quarterback."
With Finley's departure, all eyes now turn to senior Myles Brennan and sophomore Max Johnson, who will likely be the two competing for the starting job in the fall. Brennan of course started the first three games of the 2020 season before that abdomen injury forced him to miss a large chunk of the season.
Johnson was the only quarterback to go undefeated behind center, knocking off top 10 Florida at the time on the road and following up with an impressive showing against Ole Miss to close the season. It's a neck and neck race according to Orgeron, one that won't be decided until the final days of fall camp.
"Those guys are neck and neck right now, two great quarterbacks, I believe in both of them, both of them have great families, great leadership," Orgeron said. "Let the best man win and we're going to go through camp and decide towards the end of camp who's the best quarterback for our team."
Freshman Garrett Nussmeier also figures to get a shot early in camp but Orgeron admitted that it's looking more likely that Nussmeier needs more time to develop.
"Garrett's gonna have a chance but I think even Garrett saw at the spring game he's gonna have to acquire a little more experience," Orgeron said.
As for what's going on in the football ops facility now that the semester is over, Orgeron says most of the players have gone home while some have stayed and begun voluntary workouts. As for the coaching staff, the process of initial gameplans for the team's 2021 opponents is underway, starting with UCLA on Sept. 1.
Starting in June, LSU will begin hosting recruits on campus for official visits, with the Tigers up to 17 official visits scheduled according to Orgeron. Needless to say, even in a slow period of the year, the grind doesn't stop for LSU football.