Congratulations, Joe Burrow.
First, you graduated from Ohio State with two years of football eligibility remaining.
That gave you an opportunity to transfer to another school and become eligible right away as you seek the playing opportunity you never got with the Buckeyes.
You started at an elite program, bided your time, worked your way up to No. 2 in 2016, went toe to toe with Dwayne Haskins to remain J.T. Barrett’s back-up last season until suffering a broken bone in your passing hand, then stayed in the thick of the competition to succeed Barrett this season.
But you saw the hand-writing on the wall and left to make the most of the two years you have left.
You looked at Cincinnati and LSU before choosing the Tigers, whose coach, Ed Orgeron, said you passed up a guaranteed starting position with the Bearcats to join the Tigers with no guarantees, just to have “a chance to compete at the highest level.”
Good for you.
That’s the kind of self-confidence and competitive nature necessary to succeed as the leader at a program such as LSU.
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) August 4, 2018
And all indications are that you will be the leader of this Tigers team as long as you perform in preseason camp the way the LSU coaches expect you to. They thought enough of you to bring you in and give you every chance to earn the starting position even after investing tons of time, effort, belief and platitudes in three other quarterbacks.
But, Orgeron said, the lack of consistency from Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan in the spring was lacking.
So here you are.
After a disappointing three years with the Buckeyes, it looks like you’re finally going to get the opportunity to lead the offense of a major college football program.
Now it’s only fair to give you a heads up about what this quarterback job at LSU entails baggage wise.
You know all the standard stuff that comes with being a quarterback – too much blame, not enough credit, etc. But that was going to be the case at Ohio State, Cincinnati or anywhere else.
Here’s what you’re getting into that is specific to the Tigers.
At one time or another Brennan, Narcisse and to a lesser degree McMillan all were thought to be capable of handling this job, and maybe they are. Orgeron still says it’s a wide open competition.
So even if you do win this job, there are going to be folks ready to champion the cause of one of the other three as soon as you or the team screws up.
Don’t worry about it. That’s Orgeron and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger’s problem.
LSU fans have been waiting for a savior at quarterback since, well, probably 2007 when Matt Flynn helped the Tigers win a national championship.
Zach Mettenberger had impressive statistics in 2013 (3,000-plus yards, 22 touchdowns), but that team fell out of the national title chase after losing two of its first eight games, and you’ll be judged more by this team’s ability to compete in the SEC and nationally regardless of what your individual statistics might be.
You’re going to hear Tigers fans reminisce about Flynn, who wasn’t a spectacular playmaker but was efficient enough to complement the championship talent around him. You’re not going to hear anyone pining away for “the next Zach Mettenberger.”
In other words, you’ll be judged by the team’s success and your ability to contribute to that. So just do everything you can to help this team win as many games as it’s capable of and the rest will take care of itself.
Here’s some good news: You might have the deepest and most talented group of Tigers receivers to work with since Mettenberger helped Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry each gain 1,000 receiving yards in 2013.
Here’s the not-as-good part: As talented as these receivers are, there’s virtually no experience behind Jonathan Giles.
So just be aware that you have plenty to work with, but just like you, a lot of your receivers are new to LSU.
Nonetheless, enjoy this preseason camp.
You’re not afraid of or unfamiliar with competition after your Ohio State experience. But this competition is different because you’re clearly the front-runner.
When you chose the Tigers you told Orgeron, “I’m coming to Baton Rouge to be your quarterback.”
Presumably you’ll be the one leading a young offense as the team embarks on a really challenging schedule, beginning Sept. 2 against Miami.
LSU fans are starved for a big-time, play-making quarterback who can modernize an offense that’s trying to catch up with the college football norm.
Orgeron committed to that when he ran off Matt Canada and promoted Ensminger, who is going to lean heavily on you and those receivers because there’s no Derrius Guice or Leonard Fournette to hand off to, though there are capable runners.
So go out there, have fun and make this offense yours.
Oh, and if you can throw in a win against Alabama, that would be appreciated.