Don't write off Myles Brennan's bid to win LSU's starting QB job just yet
Nothing has come easily for Myles Brennan at LSU.
But patience, competitiveness and hard work have helped him to persevere.
Brennan, who will be a fifth-year senior in the fall, finds himself in yet another competition to be the Tigers’ starting quarterback.
Such a competition is nothing new for Brennan, who was a 4-star prospect when he signed to be LSU’s quarterback of the future way back in 2017.
He backed up Danny Etling for one season in preparation for possibly succeeding him as the starter. But Brennan faced strong competition from Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse during the spring of 2018.
Then Joe Burrow arrived as a graduate transfer from Ohio State and beat out the other three. McMillan and Narcisse transferred, but Brennan wasn’t ready to give up on his plan to be LSU’s starting quarterback.
He took the long view, stuck around and redshirted as Burrow’s backup.
Brennan continued as Burrow’s understudy in 2019, shadowing him on and off the field as well as in the film room as Burrow won the Heisman Trophy while leading LSU to the national championship.
After 3 seasons with minimal playing time, Brennan was primed to take over the offense and fulfill his substantial promise last season.
Though the Tigers lost 2 of their first 3 games with Brennan as the starter, he was outstanding. He made good decisions, accurate throws and led the offense to substantial production.
He passed for 1,112 yards, averaged 8.5 yards per attempts, completed 60% of his passes, threw 11 touchdown passes and compiled a passer rating of 154.7.
His per-game averages of 370.6 yards and 3.6 TD passes were just a tick below Burrow’s historic 2019 campaign.
But he suffered a torn oblique in a 45-41 loss at Missouri. Though he gamely played through the injury – passing for 430 yards and 4 touchdowns – he wouldn’t be able to play again without surgery or an extended recovery period that would extend beyond the season.
Brennan’s doctor told him, “I’ve never done the surgery on this, so we’d be naming the surgery after you.”
“I didn’t really feel comfortable with that,” Brennan added, “so I was going to give the time to let the body heal with time, and if worse comes to worse, I’d have gone with the surgical route.”
Freshman TJ Finley started the first game in Brennan’s absence and played well in a victory against South Carolina. He also played well in another victory against Arkansas, but along the way he also played poorly in losses against Auburn, Texas A&M and Alabama. He finished the season with 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Another freshman, Max Johnson, started the final 2 games and played very well in wins against Florida and Ole Miss. He had 239 passing yards and 52 rushing yards against the Gators and passed for 435 yards with 3 touchdowns and ran for 2 touchdowns against the Rebels.
When spring practice started, Johnson – who had 8 touchdown passes and 1 interception last season – got the first snaps with the first team as a result of being 2-0 and the starter when last season ended. But that distinction was ceremonial.
The competition is wide open.
Brennan and Finley also took first-team reps and 2021 signee Garrett Nussmeier is also in the mix.
The competition will continue through the spring game Saturday, summer workouts and presumably into fall camp.
Brennan, who arrived at LSU with a bean-pole physique, is now 6-5 and 220-plus pounds and has emerged as an astute reader of defenses even though he has made just those 3 starts in 4 years.
“Let the best man win,” coach Ed Orgeron has said of this competition.
Myles Brennan has been in this position before – and he has embraced the competition each time.