BATON ROUGE, La. — Good news for LSU fans who have been waiting breathlessly for the arrival of freshman quarterback Myles Brennan: Coach Ed Orgeron is embracing the hype.
“Myles Brennan is a natural thrower,” Orgeron said on Wednesday. “His release and ability to throw the ball … it’s fun to see that ball come out of his hands.”
If he had to start a freshman quarterback, Orgeron says Brennan would be good enough to get the job done.
“Does he have the ability to be a first-string quarterback as a freshman? Yes, he does,” Orgeron said. “I have no doubt about it.”
But that doesn’t mean he will actually start. Danny Etling is still on pace to be LSU’s starting quarterback because he is light years ahead of Brennan in the playbook.
“Is [Myles] ready?” Orgeron said. “Not yet.”
Brennan wasn’t able to enroll early, so in a developmental sense he is behind every other quarterback on the roster. Orgeron said the 6-foot-4 pocket passer has taken “very few” snaps with the first team.
“We don’t want to put that on him right now,” Orgeron said. “It’s a heavy installation. He’s still in a heavy learning period with a heavy learning curve. I don’t want to put too much on him.”
With quarterbacks, the fear is always that if you play one before he’s ready his confidence could be shot long-term. In the NFL, the Los Angeles Rams are going to learn whether they made that mistake in rushing No. 1 pick Jared Goff onto the field last season. He ended up 0-9 as a rookie starter.
With Etling’s respected leadership and a favorable September schedule, LSU has no need to rush a true freshman.
“[Myles] still needs to learn the offense, obviously. He has to be more comfortable with his reads,” Orgeron said. “But his ability to throw the ball is something special. It’s just fun to see that ball come out of his hands.
“But we’re going to have to bring him along when he’s ready. We’re not going to throw him into the fire. That’s the worst thing we can do. Let him develop. Let Lowell Narcisse develop. Give them the opportunity to compete. And when they’re ready, give them the chance. But right now Danny is still our No. 1 quarterback.”
But the Brennan Fan Club shouldn’t fret over this development. If the situation is right, there is a chance Orgeron will let him loose.
“We’re not thinking that far ahead [to 2018],” Orgeron said. “But hopefully there’s some chances where we can play some quarterbacks and let them play in a game. The quarterback race is not over yet.”
At the moment, that quarterback race is merely to see who will enter the season as Etling’s backup. And there is no clubhouse leader.
“I’ll say it like this: I see Myles Brennan, Justin McMillan, Lindsey Scott and Lowell Narcisse all tied,” Orgeron said. “All of them bring something to the table we feel are pretty good. Obviously we’ll still have to make a decision. But we still have time.”