Tell The Truth Monday: Who plays QB for LSU doesn’t really matter right now
It doesn’t really matter who plays quarterback for LSU right now.
It’s Tell The Truth Monday – and that’s the truth.
Perhaps Myles Brennan’s leg will heal enough for him to start against No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 14.
Perhaps TJ Finley’s psyche will heal enough from his 3-turnover performance and benching against Auburn to play against the Crimson Tide.
Perhaps Max Johnson’s effectiveness in mop-up duty as Finley’s replacement will earn him another look.
Perhaps two of those three or maybe all three will receive a snap at some point in the 2-3 Tigers’ next game.
But it doesn’t really matter.
If LSU can’t block any better than did against Auburn, the quarterback will be able to do only so much.
If LSU can’t run the ball any better than it did against Auburn, the quarterback won’t have a fighting chance.
And if LSU continues to play defense the way it has for virtually this entire season, no quarterback will be able to keep up with what Mac Jones and the Alabama offense are going to put up in Tiger Stadium.
The focus will be on the quarterback position as it always is.
It will be on Brennan, who has missed the last 2 games after becoming the first player in LSU history to pass for more than 300 yards in his first 3 starts.
It will be on Finley, who had an impressive debut in a win against South Carolina before handing Auburn 21 points with 2 interceptions and a fumble.
It will be on Johnson, who led LSU to its only touchdown against Auburn, showing why there was debate over which freshman would replace Brennan initially.
But the offensive line, the running game and the defense will determine the fate of whichever quarterback or quarterbacks play.
Head coach Ed Orgeron has said Brennan will be the starter when he’s healthy, and thanks to this week’s open date, it will have been 35 days from the time Brennan was injured against Missouri until any LSU quarterback takes a snap against Alabama.
Orgeron also has said that Brennan’s injury is “significant,” that it has healed more slowly than LSU had hoped and Brennan won’t start until he is 100%.
So even though time appears to be on Brennan’s side, it’s not certain that he’ll be ready to go in 12 days.
If Brennan is healthy enough to go and doesn’t experience a setback, it would seem sensible to let him play the entire game or at least play as long as the matchup can be considered a game.
He is the starter, he is the most experienced quarterback on the team and he has played consistently well. He is most capable of dealing with what the game against Alabama might turn into – a blowout loss or a shootout; there doesn’t appear to be a third possibility.
If Brennan is unable to go, it would seem sensible to play both freshmen. There has been a razor-thin difference between them and that was demonstrated when Johnson got his shot in the second half at Auburn.
Both can benefit from not feeling the burden of potentially playing 60 minutes against Alabama and both can benefit from periodically watching from the sideline as they prepare to return to action.
But none of the quarterbacks can overcome the absence of running game, consistent pressure from the pass rush and trying to match goodness knows how many yards and points from Jones and the Crimson Tide offense.
There will be consistent and persistent attention paid to how the reps are divided among the quarterbacks during the open date this week and during game-week preparations next week.
Orgeron might declare his plans late in game week – as he did before the South Carolina game – or sooner if Brennan’s health or lack of health dictates the decision.
Or he might be coy, declare Brennan “questionable” and say the starting quarterback will be “a game-time decision.”
None of it matters.
Until LSU lines up against Alabama shortly after 5 p.m. on Nov. 14 and shows whether it can block the Tide and run on the Tide and defend the Tide, the individual under center won’t matter.