On the odd chance you were still wondering if the world was totally off its rocker, consider this:

Suddenly LSU has become a veritable Quarterback Factory.

Meanwhile, DBU is in a desperate search for defensive backs who can cover or at least tackle when neglecting the first chore.

The shiny Heisman Trophy sitting in the trophy case maybe wasn’t just a Joe Burrow aberration.

Remember all those years otherwise stout LSU teams were built on defense, the next stud running back to come off the assembly line and a fleet of receivers waiting for the NFL to give them a chance to properly show their wares.

Remember the parlor game of wondering what it might be like if the Tigers could just switch quarterbacks with whichever talented opponent was under center struggling to decipher LSU’s secondary?

No more.

Maybe Burrow changed the culture forever.

Suddenly, LSU has an embarrassment of riches in the quarterback room.

It’s taking some getting used to.

Burrow may have been a generational talent and leader but maybe there’s no reason for LSU to wander aimlessly for another decade or so.

The old “next man up” bromide at that position used to bring snickers around the campus — shoot, just find one.

Now, suddenly, quarterbacks are lined up around the LSU quadrangle.

It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Myles Brennan was a worthy successor, the biggest question mark becoming a rare bright spot in an ugly 1-2 start.

But when Brennan went down with an abdominal injury, silly us for being skeptical when Ed Orgeron said ... well, no problem, next man up (and wait until you see TJ Finley).

To the naked eye it seemed like Finley threw for more than 265 yards while completing 17 of 21 passes in Saturday’s 52-24 victory over South Carolina. That’s chump change in today’s wild offenses.

But never mind that. The most impressive thing was the body language of a freshman waltzing out there cool as could be, calm as a gentle breeze — almost Brees-like — the first time he took the field in college.

Oh, but wait, as they say on late night infomercials, there’s more.

Orgeron said he had another freshman, Max Johnson, just as good as that one waiting in the wings. Said he had to flip a coin to see which one got first dibs on keeping Brennan’s spot warm.

Johnson didn’t get in until the fourth quarter, by which time football etiquette prevented him from throwing at an already-strafed opponent.

So the Tigers’ biggest quarterback problem may be keeping them away from the transfer portal.

Now, imagine — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — but just imagine if the Tigers had a secondary their quarterback(s) could be proud of?

The official spin on Saturday’s defensive performance was that it “bent without breaking,” which apparently is football gibberish for: South Carolina missed a bunch of field goals.

Makes a good story, especially on a night when no harm was done.

But Saturday you could have called it the Buzz Kill defense.

South Carolina, which is not over-burdened with playmakers or pestered by much offensive creativity, had six plays of over 32 yards, four of them for more than 44 yards.

It wasn’t the length of the plays — some didn’t amount to much. Or how lost the Tigers looked on a few of them. It was the timing.

That part was uncanny.

It’s hard enough to get a Covidmasked crowd cranked up when it’s only 24,000 of them with no decent tailgating available beforehand to work out the kinks.

Oh, but they tried.

LSU’s game-opening drive, the first snaps of Finley’s college life, was a thing of beauty, 16 plays which basically took up half of the first quarter before scoring.

Yes, that looked like LSU again.

The place was stirring, impressed and perhaps somewhat relieved that Finley did not faint in the huddle, and anxiously waiting to see what lessons this defense learned from its Missouri fiasco.

First Gamecock play — 36-yard shuttle pass; two plays later, in the end zone.

Moments after Finley threw his first touchdown pass, same thing. The socially distanced band was playing and everything. First play after the kickoff — 44-yard Gamecock completion.

The defense did get its giftwrapped pick six near halftime that probably was the game’s biggest play to pull away.

After that ensuing kickoff, the next two plays LSU promptly gave up gains of 17 and 21 yards, followed by a pass interference flag that was not reviewable (nor really debatable).

Fortunately for the Tigers, it ended with another missed field goal and they retired to the halftime dressing quarters to mull it over.

Whatever LSU adjustments were made, they inspired South Carolina to open the second half with a 49-yard run.

The resulting touchdown actually produced the oddity of the night when Trey Palmer returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.

But before anybody realized the true historical value — it was LSU’s first kickoff return touchdown in Tiger Stadium since Eric Martin in 1981 — the Gamecocks were completing a 57-yard pass on the next play from scrimmage.

Same thing on the Gamecocks’ opening fourth-quarter drive — first play: 32 yards, followed by another pass interference call.

What are they telling these guys when they leave the sideline anyway?

Bottom line, I have no idea how South Carolina scored only 24 points, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’ all LSU’s fault.

But the Tigers look well-armed to for a season full of shoot-outs.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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