Two days into the start of preparations for Saturday’s home game with South Carolina, LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron reiterated a familiar theme for the second straight day.
When the Tigers (1-2, 1-2 in SEC) host the Gamecocks (2-2, 2-2) at 6 p.m. in Tiger Stadium, they will do so without junior quarterback Myles Brennan, Orgeron said during Wednesday’s SEC Coaches Teleconference.
“I don’t know if Myles Brennan’s going to be able to play,” he said. “He’s still not 100 % yet, but he’s very questionable. Max (Johnson) and T.J. (Finley) have looked very good in practice. We’ll make a decision at the end of the week.”
Brennan suffered a torn abdomen according to The Athletic, an injury that took place in the first quarter Oct. 10 of LSU’s game at Missouri. He never came out of that game and wound up passing for a career-high 430 yards and four touchdowns.
Even with an unexpected week off last week when Florida experienced a COVID-19 outbreak within its program Brennan hasn’t sufficiently recovered enough to play, Orgeron said.
“If he wasn’t able to play, we would have never put him in,” Orgeron said. “He wanted to play, and (LSU trainer) Jack (Marucci) thought he could play so that’s why we put him in. What happens is that once you get sore it’s hard for him with the rotations in his body, it’s hard to go through the regular quarterback mechanics he has to. It’s not healed properly to perform his duties.”
With Brennan expected to be sidelined, LSU will turn to either Max Johnson or T.J. Finley – a pair of true freshmen who both are both mid-year enrollees – to start on Saturday.
“It’s helped that both have been mid-year graduates who’ve worked very hard,” Orgeron said. “They both throw the ball very well. They’re both good athletes. They’re very similar. I really think the difference in one or the other will be shown in the game. Which one’s mature enough, which one can go handle the pressure. Which one can make the calls? We feel they both can do it and feel like both of them will do well. But you never can tell until you play them.”
Here’s what else Orgeron had to say:
“Will Muschamp’s done a great job with the South Carolina team. His defensive line’s playing excellent. His quarterback Collin Hill, (running back) Kevin Harris and (wide receiver) Shai Smith are really doing a great job for them on offense. We’re looking forward to playing them at 6 o’clock in Death Valley with 25,000 screaming LSU fans.”
On whether to change or alter the offense for a pair of freshman quarterback
“We’re not going to change the offense. We’re running the same plays. Nothing’s changed much. That’s what they’ve been running, and we want to give them both a chance to compete and both of them have competed very well. I have no problem starting either one. Whatever one it’s going to be it’s going to be very close and more than likely both of them will play.”
On whether you were aware that an opponent withheld injury information to gain a competitive advantage
“Sometimes that happens. Most of the guys have been honest. You always have to prepare where if this quarterback gets hurt, who’s going to go in? What type of quarterback is he? Does he change the offense? Then if you do, then you’ve got to basically prepare for two different offenses.”
On your thoughts of waiting on results of mid-week testing for COVID
“It’s been business as usual for us. We’ve been going along and obviously if someone gets tested positive for COVID we put in their backup, we go forward and we give the best care possible. We’ve been fortunate this season that we haven’t had that many positive COVID tests yet.”
On the reason why defenses in the SEC have been behind the offenses
“I love for offenses to score points. I believe in order to win a championship you have to play outstanding defense. I believe people are going to score points, but not 40 and 45. You can’t win football games doing that. Is it a result of not having spring ball? I don’t know. It may be, it may not. The thing I know that’s been disappointing is all the busts and the details and those the things we plan on simplifying and fixing at LSU in order for us to get where we want to go.”
On this more a byproduct of more advanced quarterbacks coming into the league
“I believe you have a great quarterbacks. You have great offensive coaches in this league, you have great skill players, and you see that throughout the league. I believe as defensive coaches we have to find a way. That’s been the course of football throughout the years. The offense gets ahead, and we’ve got to catch up. I think we’re a little bit behind on defense right now.”
On when you realized the severity of Brennan’s injury
“Jack came and told me he’s going to be pretty bruised and banged up. They worked him and he could throw the football, his rotation was good enough for him to go in the game. He wanted to go in the game. After the game and after he got sore, they found out exactly what was wrong with him. We found out the significance. The thing about the injury is that some people heal fast, some people don’t heal fast. There’s not a timeline. Each human being is different with that injury.”
On what is Brennan doing during the week
“Rehab, rehab, rehab. He hasn’t been out to practice. With players that are not able to practice I’d rather them stay in the training room, get rehab and get better and he’s been working with Jack. Right now, we don’t think he’s going to play. I’m not saying he won’t unless some miraculous thing may come up, but for now we’re going with either T.J. or Max.”
On any long-term effects for Brennan from the injury
“He could be healed by next week or it could be a lingering deal. It all depends on his body and how he heals properly. Each person’s different. We’re just going to have to go along with it and when he’s ready we’ll put him back in.”