BATON ROUGE, La. — Heading into spring practice, the competition for LSU’s starting quarterback position felt like it might be a competition in name only. But as coach Ed Orgeron pointed out Saturday afternoon following the Tigers’ second spring scrimmage, it is very much a real deal.
“It’s still open,” Orgeron said. “I don’t think anybody has taken the bull by the horns, to be honest. We take two steps forward and one step back.”
The stats released by LSU from each of its two closed scrimmages — it they aren’t fudged — make that evident. Danny Etling, who entered as the clubhouse leader this spring after capably guiding the Tigers last season, did not complete 50 percent of his passes in either practice.
Etling was 4 of 10 for 133 yards and a touchdown in the first scrimmage, then went 5 of 13 for 97 yards in the second. Of course, though the completion percentage is down, yards per completion averages of 33.25 and 19.4 indicate that connecting on the deep ball has not been a problem for him.
Meanwhile, sophomore Justin McMillan is gaining in the rearview mirror. McMillan has been accurate this spring, going a combined 10 of 13 for 141 yards in the two scrimmages.
“Justin’s been doing some good things,” Orgeron said.
But it is still spring, which means there is also time for Lindsey Scott Jr. and Lowell Narcisse to gain ground in August camp.
“Lindsey’s doing some good things,” Orgeron said. “And Lowell may be the most talented of them all. And we’ve still got Myles Brennan coming in. We’ve still got a ways to go.”
That final sentence — we’ve got a ways to go — is probably the most important one for fans looking to read the tea leaves right now.
With new offensive coordinator Matt Canada implementing his own offense, none of LSU’s quarterbacks will be game-ready this spring. Everyone is still in the learning phase. The actual separation phase won’t begin until August. And it truly does seem like everyone will have a fair shake to be the man.
“We have a pro-style quarterback and three dual-threat quarterbacks,” Orgeron said. “Matt can play with either. That’s the reason we hired him.”