At the LSU caravan stop in Metairie, the official line was transfer quarterback Joe Burrow has to come to fall camp and win the job.
But, behind the curtain, there’s always a back story. And, that story is LSU coaches are very impressed with the former Ohio State Buckeye.
They are impressed with his skills and his leadership abilities. Perhaps, for one of the most offensively starved fan bases in the Southeastern Conference, there is light.
The LSU passing game has been historically bad. In the last four years, the Tigers have ranked 84th, 101st, 105th and 114th in passing among teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
LSU’s last touchdown pass against Alabama occurred in the second quarter of the 2015 game in Tuscaloosa. That’s 10 quarters without a TD pass against your chief rival. In the last four games against Alabama, LSU quarterbacks have thrown for a total of 433 yards with two touchdown passes and four interceptions.
In his first year at Auburn, Baylor transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham was 21-of-28 passing for 237 yards in a 26-14 win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Stidham also ran for a touchdown.
What advice would Stidham give a quarterback transferring to another school? “You can’t go in and start harping on guys, because they will think this guy sucks,” said Stidham during a break at the Manning Passing Academy. “If you go in with the right attitude and respect people, they will respect you back.”
Stidham said he learned a lot in his first year as a quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.
“People down South love their football,” Stidham said.
In his first year in the SEC, Stidham said he learned to appreciate the depth of talent in the league.
“The SEC is a lot of fun, but it is a grind,” he said. “Every single week you have to be on your game. There are no cupcake teams in our league, and you are going to get someone’s best every single week … You have to be physically and mentally prepared for those types of games and situations.”
In the meantime, as the summer of Joe Burrow continues, Ed Orgeron has to find a way to keep his presumed backup quarterbacks on campus, especially redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse and sophomore Myles Brennan. A source said LSU thinks Narcisse has huge potential that is still unfulfilled.
But, if Burrow is the presumed starter, Narcisse and Brennan have to answer this question for themselves. Will they wait an additional two years for the chance to be the starting quarterback at LSU?
Orgeron, a noted recruiter and salesman, has a big sell to make.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.