Whether it’s on the field amid a blitzing defense or in the training room rehabbing old ailments, patience is the key for Lowell Narcisse.
The redshirt freshman is mired in a three-man race to be LSU’s starting quarterback come fall, but, informed by two knee injuries that required years of rehab, he’s not focused on anything but steady, incremental improvement.
“I just try to be better than the person I was yesterday,” Narcisse told reporters Thursday. “I had a great practice Tuesday, just trying to be better and clean up the things I did on Tuesday. I don’t try to pay attention too much to the competition part. If I just try to be better than I was, everything will take care of itself.”
A four-star signee out of St. James High School, Narcisse missed large chunks of his junior and senior seasons with injuries to both knees. He says he didn’t feel back to 100 percent until well into his freshman year at LSU, as took a redshirt season to heal, develop, and get back into football shape.
“I would say toward the end of the year, around the Bama game,” Narcisse said of feeling like himself again. “I just got back to being comfortable. I had a lot of weight to lose. I was still feeling myself out, trying to get back in my comfort zone.”
Down from 243 to 228 – the product of an improved diet featuring fewer trips to McDonald’s – Narcisse says he feels good at his current weight, though he still has a target of 220 pounds. His primary focus physically has been continuing to rehab his knees. He spent Spring Break getting extra treatment and working on his core strength, little things that go a long way in staying healthy.
“I know I have to do a whole lot of single leg squats,” he says. “I know I have to eat properly. I know I have to stretch a lot, because certain parts of my body are tighter than others. It’s just making sure you take care of your body properly.”
He’s taking care of his mind, too. Narcisse says he’s buried himself in the playbook, citing his familiarity with it as his biggest strength in the three-man battle under center. He’s also taking cues from his predecessor to develop himself as a leader.
“Seeing the type of quarterback Danny (Etling) was, he led by example,” Narcisse says. “He wasn’t much of a big talker, but everyone saw the work Danny did, how he prepared himself, how he practiced. We have a young offense. They’re going to look to me to find that sense of identity.”
The year out at LSU was beneficial, Narcisse says, but it wasn’t easy.
“Me being the competitor I am, I wanted to play last year, but I knew I wasn’t ready,” he says. “The game was fast for me. I wasn’t real accurate coming off an injury since I couldn’t throw. That’s some of the things I needed to work on.”
Practice proved the perfect place to work on those things a year ago. He worked with the scout team often, running against an elite LSU defense and learning just how different the speed of play can be in college versus high school.
“Practicing against Arden, Devin, Greedy, Donte, those windows are real tight,” he says. “That helped me a lot with my ball placement and quickening up my decisions.”
Though Myles Brennan, his primary competitor alongside Justin McMillan to be the starting quarterback, spent last year as the backup, getting 24 attempts in a handful of appearances, Narcisse doesn’t feel he has to play catch up with the sophomore.
“We’re coming in with a new offense,” Narcisse says. “We learned a whole new system. Everyone’s basically on the same platform. Me and Myles are great friends. I help him a lot, he helps me a lot. Every time he comes to the sideline, he asks me what I see. It’s more of a brotherhood. All we do is try to help each other be the best we can.”
The next time Narcisse takes the field will likely be the spring game, and it’ll be his first live action since the jamboree of his senior season. He’s played just four games since his junior season – all in the playoffs – but spent much of last season getting mental reps, treating practice snaps like game snaps.
“I can’t tell you what it’s going to feel like, because I don’t know,” he said of his imminent return. “But I know I’ll be ready and excited.”
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