Four chances to find one quarterback

<p class="p1">Ordinarily I’d be skeptical. This is just the sort of August chicanery that I’m usually warning you to steer clear of.</p><p class="p1">We all know August all too well, that worst of months, that awful four weeks when everybody is excited about football, but, in reality, nothing is happening.</p><p class="p1">It’s not fake news, per se, but much of it is manufactured or overblown to feed a public desperately hungry for some football.</p><p class="p1">So go ahead and yawn when Coach A raves about a team coming back in the best shape he can ever remember. Raise a skeptical brow when word out of early drills is that, if nothing else, this team is much, much faster than any of its ancestors. Turn and quickly beeline vacate the premises when Coach Anybody declares that, by golly, every position battle is wide open.</p><p class="p1">Happens every August.</p><p class="p1">But — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — I suspect there might really be something to this LSU quarterback race going on.</p><p class="p1">It might even really be a genuine four-man, wide-open battle like Ed Orgeron claims in his best, gravelly Cajun coach-speak.</p><p class="p1">It’s the words “LSU” and “quarterback” in the same discussion, so it’s automatically a hot-button item.</p><p class="p1">You’re talking about a school just two years removed from practicing and analyzing through all of spring and all of August to come to the conclusion that Brandon Harris was a better quarterback than Danny Etling.</p><p class="p1">Maybe not fair. Different brain trust than now — it cost Les Miles and quarterbacks coach Cam Cameron their jobs.</p><p class="p1">So maybe it will be different with Orgeron in charge and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger pulling the levers.</p><p class="p1">And, just to reiterate, this might be on the level. I suspect something might really be going on this time between Joe Burrow, Myles Brennan, Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse. It might be an honest competition.</p><p class="p1">Important disclaimer: This is not an all-clear to suddenly trust any of the quarterback “news” and “developments” that might sneak out of camp. Legitimate race or not, it’s still August and those nuggets are subject to the usual grains of salt.</p><p class="p1">It was deemed newsworthy, for instance, that Burrow was “fourth string” on the opening day of practice. Which was one day after Orgeron had carefully explained that they’d all rotate with different units just about daily.</p><p class="p1">Twitter stayed on standby alert anyway.</p><p class="p1">The common assumption going in is that Burrow, the graduate transfer from Ohio State, will be LSU’s starting quarterback.</p><p class="p1">This is known as part human nature, part wishful thinking.</p><p class="p1">He’d be the popular choice, the hopeful choice.</p><p class="p1">It’s doubtful any LSU fans had ever heard of Burrow before he migrated south, but never mind.</p><p class="p1">He has an arm, he has enough mobility to be considered a “dual threat” and he has a coach’s-son mental approach to the game.</p><p class="p1">But mostly, in the eyes of Tigers fans, he’s new and he’s different and LSU didn’t originally recruit him, which is seen as a plus because standard recruiting practices never seems to work out with LSU quarterbacks.</p><p class="p1">If Burrow wins the job, fans can take heart that, if nothing else, the position was upgraded from anything that was already on campus. And he comes from Ohio State, which always seems to have an embarrassing surplus of top quarterbacks. Word, of course, was that he was “<em>this</em>” close to winning the Buckeyes job in the spring.</p><p class="p1">Plus the other three were all on display in LSU’s spring game, and it wasn’t pretty — Orgeron almost seemed like he was startled, like he was trying desperately to pull a curtain over the performance, covering things up while shouting “No-no-no, that’s not the way they usually look.”</p><p class="p1">He went out and added a fourth to the mix anyway, this promising outsider.</p><p class="p1">A program like LSU can’t be just handing out jobs sight unseen, so logically he’ll have to earn it.</p><p class="p1">If Burrow is anything like the recommendations that preceded him from Ohio State, the quarterback race is at LSU.</p><p class="p1">But it seems like Orgeron really means it when he says he’s keeping an open mind. All four do bring something to the table.</p><p class="p1">Orgeron knows what he’d like to see.</p><p class="p1">“The best man would win and it would be clear,” he said. “I want the team to see it and I want the coaching staff to see it. If you are the LSU quarterback, you should be able to stick out.”</p><p class="p1">But it does sound like he’s not going to force himself to see something that isn’t there.</p><p class="p1">That’s the right approach.</p><p class="p1">That said, if it isn’t Burrow, it will be viewed as a downer.</p><hr /><p class="p2"><strong>Scooter Hobbs</strong> covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com</p>””Quarterback ShowdownAmerican Press composite

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