LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron officially announced Thursday the reality that Tiger fans were expecting. Junior Myles Brennan will miss this Saturday's game against South Carolina, and a new quarterback will be running the offense when the Tigers kickoff at 6 p.m. in Death Valley.
True freshman TJ Finley was named the starter over fellow freshman Max Johnson, but both could spend time on the field depending on the flow of the game.
"I think both of them are going to be NFL quarterbacks," Orgeron said. "The team loved both of those guys. It was a very close battle, but at the end, we felt TJ nudged Max just a little. I wish I could start two."
Finley, a 6'6" 242 lbs athlete from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, will take the first snaps of his career behind center. He has lost about 20 pounds from when he had first enrolled, and his arm talent has been highly touted throughout camp. Orgeron believes Finley will be ready to evade pressure as he faces an aggressive, hard-hitting South Carolina defense.
"We did some rushing practice," Orgeron stated. "There's going to be some times I'm sure he's going to get sacked. I'm sure he's going to get hit. I think he's been prepared. He's a big kid, he's 6'6". He steps up in the pocket well. He can run. We ran him today a little bit. Ran him around the edge, he did very well."
Johnson, at 6'5" 219 lbs, hails from Watkinsville, Georgia. His ability to extend plays with his legs has been his most impressive attribute, but he has also been able to throw the ball well.
Orgeron was complimentary of Johnson as he dealt with a tough situation naming Finley starter for the weekend.
"Max took it like a man," Orgeron said. "He was fine. Him and TJ are friends. I told him, 'I have to disappoint one of you. I recruited both of you.' I wish I could start both of them. It was a hard decision. It was really close. We could have went either way."
Expect Finley to stay in if he plays well as LSU rides the hot hand, but a change could also be possible should he struggle. In either scenario, Orgeron feels confident in his two young quarterbacks to rise to the opportunity.