Under a beautiful blue sky Monday, Myles Brennan connected with future Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajun and go-to receiver Chase Rogers on pass after pass before heading to the weight room for additional work. A coach walked through the end zone, lining the field for the first day of spring football as Sublime played over the stadium’s speakers.
Two hours west in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, LSU just completed its first spring with Ed Orgeron as the top Tiger — a fact certainly not lost on Brennan.
The Rockachaw quarterback wanted to graduate early like fellow LSU signee Lowell Narcisse, but Brennan had to make the most of his time in Bay St. Louis.
“It’s been difficult, but it is what it is,” Brennan said of watching LSU’s spring from afar. “There’s nothing I could have done any differently. I’ve been having to use what I can to get better so when I get there I’m prepared. I’d have much rather been there but that’s just the way it is.”
Although he’s some 115 miles away from the team, there’s not a day that passes where Brennan doesn’t think about what’s ahead. Known during his record-setting prep career as a film junkie, Brennan has doubled down on his preparations so that when he arrives at LSU on June 2 he can hit the ground running.
One of the biggest knocks on Brennan during the recruiting process was his weight. While 6-foot-4, Brennan only weighed around 175-180 pounds. Brennan said he was tasked with getting up to around 190 pounds before reporting — he’s already at 188.
And then there’s the playbook. While Brennan said he doesn’t yet have a binder filled with plays, he has started focusing on LSU’s lingo and formations the best he can.
“It’s a little hard, but I’m just trying to get it in the brain so when he says the terminology I know what he’s talking about,” Brennan said. “My biggest thing is learning the formations so when I get down there I know. I’m already behind since I’m not enrolled. I have a big opportunity ahead. I know what I have to do and feel comfortable doing it — it’s just going to take a lot of hard work.”
This spring, redshirt sophomore Justin McMillan, redshirt freshman Lindsey Scott, Narcisse and walk-on Caleb Lewis have all taken reps under center, but returning starter Danny Etling is the consensus favorite to retain his position and lead the Tigers in 2017. Still, Orgeron has shied away from making any such commitments. The LSU coach has repeatedly been asked about his signal caller only to postpone any decisions until at least the beginning of summer camp.
“Until we feel like it’s solidified and everybody’s had a fair chance,” Orgeron told reporters when asked how long the quarterback battle will remain open. “We haven’t seen Myles Brennan yet. We told him when we recruited him we would give him a fair chance. Guys are going to get better, so let’s see. Danny’s practiced with the first team most of the time. Unless somebody takes his place, they’re going to have to prove it.”
Brennan has clearly kept tabs on the happenings in Baton Rouge and if nothing else is motivated from what he’s seen, read and been told.
“It means a lot. It’s obviously for a reason,” Brennan said when asked about Orgeron continuously mentioning him in the quarterback competition. “I feel like if he knew who the starter was going to be or if someone stuck out to him he wouldn’t be afraid to come out and name a starter since I’m not even there yet. You know? For him to keep bringing my name up obviously means more than one thing. I understand that.
“It does put some pressure on me, but at the end of the day I’m just going to go out to do what I’ve grown up doing, which is play football, play catch. It’s just at another level.”
‘It’s go time’
Brennan was at LSU for the spring game April 22 and came away with a good idea of what the Tigers’ new offense may look like. On the way home Sunday, his phone rang. It was Orgeron reinforcing what the QB already believed to be true.
“He said ‘I’m sure you have seen it online. You’re going to have a chance to earn the starting spot when you get here so just be ready,’” Brennan said. “I realize that. It’s go time from here.”
To redshirt or not to redshirt
At one point during his recruitment, Brennan talked about redshirting as if it was an obvious choice. You play high school ball, you sign with a college, you redshirt and then you compete for playing time. He’s not so sure that will be his progression anymore.
“At the beginning I thought redshirting would be a possibility. But after this has kind of played out, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said. “It hit me this is it. I’m not in control of it. If a spot needs to be filled, I’ll have to go fill it. It’s real life. It’s a reality. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to. I’ve always wanted to play college football and I’m not afraid to go in there as a freshman and play.”
Prior to St. Stanislaus’ first practice Monday, Brennan launched a pass down the field to Rogers in stride. No smile. No silly high school celebration. Been there, done that. It’s all business from here on out.
“I know what I’m going to have to do. I think about it every day,” Brennan said. “This is it. I know I have a chance to become the starter and I know what I’m going to have to do. It’s not going to be easy but I know what I have to do to prepare for that and I’m ready for it.”