With Myles Brennan likely out for LSU, Ed Orgeron details decision to start T.J. Finley over Max Johnson
Myles Brennan is still officially doubtful to play for LSU against South Carolina due to an unspecified “lower-body injury”. With a pair of true freshmen in T.J. Finley and Max Johnson vying to get the call on Saturday, Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron announced during his Thursday evening media availability that he decided to go with Finley, confirming earlier reports.
However, according to Orgeron, it was an extremely close battle, with him saying that the choice between the 2 quarterbacks “could’ve been the flip of a coin”.
“T.J. may have had 1 or 2 better plays on 3rd down than Max did. That’s all that was,” he said.
Orgeron took time to highlight some of the skills Finley brings to the table, which he hopes the Ponchatoula, La. native will be able to showcase well in front of a primetime audience at Death Valley. Along with that, he mentioned the work Finley put in to get himself into the best shape possible, losing “20 pounds, maybe more”.
“T.J’s a hard worker,” Orgeron said. “He’s very cerebral. He’s always studying football. He’s always had a cannon for an arm. It was more or less putting a little touch, more or less reading the defense and accuracy.”
That being said, he made sure to stress that while what Finley faced in practice was nowhere near what he’d face in a live game situation, he was looking forward to seeing how the first-year player responded.
“Live bullets are going to be flying Saturday. They’re going to come after him. Let’s find out,” he said. “But I do believe he’ll do well.”
He did mention that he potentially wanted to give both Finley and Johnson an opportunity to play on Saturday, but “the flow of the game” would determine how that looked.
“We might get in the game and T.J. gets hot, I’m not going to take him out,” he said. “We’re not going to be impatient with him, either. But I do want to play both. I want to see what both of them can do.”