BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU football team exits this spring in the same manner in which it entered — without a starting quarterback.
That was the plan all along, but the spring game on Saturday only hammered home a point that’s been repeated by coach Ed Orgeron all spring — this competition isn’t going to be decided anytime before August.
The Tigers can only hope it doesn’t take even longer.
“We’d love to have [that one guy]. But it’s just not there,” Orgeron said. “If we had a quarterback that was dominant all spring and the clear leader, we’d name him. We haven’t seen it. We have some guys who are coming. You saw it [Saturday].”
Junior Justin McMillan clearly was the best man Saturday night, leading the offense on four scoring drives, three of which were with the No. 1 unit.
“He extended plays with his feet,” Orgeron said. “When him and [running back] Clyde [Edwards-Helaire] were back there, we were moving the ball down the field. But there’s still some inconsistencies; some missed reads and missed throws.”
McMillan’s show-me moment came when he was handed the reins for the 2-minute drill at the end of the game, leading the White team down the field for what would have been a game-tying score in normal circumstances.
But it’s a spring game, so of course they went for 2. McMillan’s pass attempt to tight end Foster Moreau for the go-ahead 2-point conversion was thwarted by a bull rush from defensive end Breiden Fehoko.
Regardless, the drive showed that offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger has a lot of trust in McMillan. Though it was Lowell Narcisse’s turn in the quarterback rotation the Tigers had employed for the entire game, Orgeron said Ensminger made the call to put McMillan in for the final drive of the game.
“His [experience] gives him an advantage,” Orgeron said. “He won a state championship in high school. He’s been there. He’s older. He’s playing with more confidence right now than the other quarterbacks.”
But don’t crown McMillan just yet. He completed less than 50 percent of his throws, finishing the scrimmage with 182 yards on 13 for 27 passing. Narcisse was 6 of 13 for 205 yards. Myles Brennan was 11 of 21 for 125 yards and a badly overthrown interception. All three quarterbacks threw a touchdown pass.
“[Saturday], Justin was the best quarterback. That’s just fact,” Orgeron said. “But the quarterback competition will stay open throughout camp. We still haven’t put in all of our offense. We’ve still got a lot of installation left.”