Not much has changed for Myles Brennan since he enrolled at LSU last June.
Sure, he’s nearly a year older and, yes, he’s more experienced in the college game, but there is plenty of the same.
Brennan, LSU’s sophomore quarterback from St. Stanislaus, is still chasing these three things: a thicker frame, a starting job and (learning) a new offense. The first part has proven to be a higher hurdle than the rest, despite the seven calorie-packed meals per day he consumes.
“I had three biscuits and a protein shake for breakfast, nearly 1,400 calories,” Brennan said Tuesday. “It’s just my body. Being so young, it hasn’t matured yet, but I’m capable of doing it, so I will do it. It’s part of it.”
That last it is being a major college football starting quarterback. It is a job that this lanky 6-foot-4, 195-pounder is competing for eight months after he lost the last one to incumbent Danny Etling. He’s also back shuffling through a playbook he’s never seen, digesting new coordinator Steve Ensminger’s scheme just a few months removed from learning the motion-filled system of Matt Canada.
And yes, he’s trying to gain weight, eating everything from Raising Cane’s and pizza to protein shakes just before bed.
“I’m on an insane meal plan,” he said.
Brennan and the press
Brennan spoke to media Tuesday for the first time since he enrolled in June, answering questions for more than 20 minutes five days after his two competitors did the same.
That battle among those competitors, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan — Brennan calls them “buddies” — is as close as last year's camp competition between Etling and himself, the quarterback said.
And what about that new offense? He sidestepped such a question, trained not to say much about what’s unfolding behind the wooden fence of the Charles McClendon practice fields. He’ll leave that for coach Ed Orgeron.
“It did change,” Brennan said of the transition from Canada to Ensminger’s schemes, “in the fact that we’re taking out the motions and shifts. Other than that, it’s an offense that Coach O can explain.”
Orgeron has detailed a versatile offense, with shades of pro-style and spread concepts, a pass-leaning unit with a zone-run base. But LSU’s play-calling and philosophy will be dictated by its starting quarterback, coaches have said.
Each of the players in this three-way battle brings an assortment of skills. That’s not lost on Brennan.
“Obviously,” Brennan smiled, “Lowell and Justin both are faster than I am.”
Everyone knows the three by now. Brennan is the more pro-style passer of the group, a pocket quarterback with an accurate arm and some zip. Narcisse, at 230 pounds, is a bullish runner with a strong arm, and McMillan, a fourth-year junior, is a blend of both — and he has three years of college experience.
Their skills are different and so is their use in LSU’s offense, still in the development phase. Those who attend closed scrimmages can attest to a scheme that changes with its quarterback.
Orgeron's QB style
The scrimmage statistics Orgeron releases each weekend further reveal a significant change in play-calling and philosophy with any of the QBs: a more pro-style, pass-leaning unit with Brennan; and a zone-read, QB run scheme with the other two.
“Everyone is unique in their own way,” Narcisse said last week. “Coach is just trying to find a way to put us into position for us to all be at the best at all times.”
The speed of the game was faster.
But who is the best in what scheme with LSU’s current offensive personnel? If someone knows, he's not saying. Players are toeing the company line: dead even.
“Everybody, like Coach O stated, is pretty even,” running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire said. “That’s what I see and everybody else sees.”
Not everything is the same for Brennan. While he’s chasing that trio, he has hurdled over so much more during a rookie season that included limited action in six games.
He grew accustomed to the college game’s speed. It is faster.
He learned about the college game’s passing windows. They are tighter.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable, playing a few games in Tiger Stadium at this level,” he said. “I can take a deep breath and relax.”