ATLANTA — With kickoff now six weeks away, LSU coach Ed Orgeron and the coaching staff have many questions to answer about its 2018 squad.
Every year at LSU, fans are wondering the same question: who will be the quarterback this season? 2018 is no different, with four quarterbacks competing for the opening slot Sept. 2 against Miami.
Joe Burrow, the transfer from Ohio State, has received high praise from teammates and coaches alike in his first few months with the team. Sophomore Myles Brennan, freshman Lowell Narcisse and junior Justin McMillan will compete with Burrow for the coveted starting position.
Orgeron said that the hope is to find a starter by the end of fall camp but that the competition could leak into the start of the season.
“We’re going to let this thing play out and let the best man win,” Orgeron said.
The decision to promote tight ends coach Steve Ensminger to offensive coordinator sent shock waves through the LSU community.
Orgeron was asked repeatedly about the decision to make Ensminger offensive coordinator, a position he served as interim for eight games in 2016.
“I’ve known his ability to lead an offense,” Orgeron said. “In our first game against Missouri, he broke a lot of school records. I have complete confidence in the direction he wants to take this offense. The players respect Steve, and I think he’s an excellent game day caller, and he’s a great recruiter.”
Orgeron took time to acknowledge most of the LSU coaches on his staff, including receivers coach Mickey Joseph, quarterbacks coach Jerry Sullivan and offensive line coach James Cregg.
“In Mickey’s first year as a recruiter at LSU, he brought in the number one receiver class in the country,” Orgeron said. “I’m so proud of our offensive staff as a whole and what they will bring to our team this season.”
Orgeron said LSU will be a spread-heavy offense, with mainly three and four wide receiver sets, while also splitting the pass and run game at 50/50 time.
Defensively, Orgeron praised the work of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, while adding that LSU is returning two of the great defensive talents in the country with junior linebacker Devin White and sophomore cornerback Greedy Williams.
Opposite Williams at the second starting cornerback slot is an open competition, but Orgeron mentioned Terrence Alexander, Kelvin Joseph, Jontre Kirkland and Kary Vincent Jr. as guys who will compete for that spot.
Up front, LSU will be led by returning junior defensive end Rashard Lawrence, as well as sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson, who Orgeron said would fill the “Arden Key role” as edge rusher.
This season is a different kind of beast for returning SEC coaches to prepare for, with five teams bringing in new head coaches, including former Florida State and LSU coach Jimbo Fisher, who inked a 10-year commitment with Texas A&M this year.
Orgeron was asked about the new Aggie coach and traveling to College Station for the final game of the regular season.
“Jimbo’s a great coach, he’s won a national championship,” Orgeron said. “He’s a proven recruiter, and it’s going to be a tremendous challenge, but I have a lot of respect for what he does.”
LSU will also face the Georgia Bulldogs for the first time since 2013, where they fell 44-41. The Bulldogs are fresh off a College Football Playoff Championship Game berth and sport the number one recruiting class in the country by numerous outlets.
Orgeron respects the job Kirby Smart has done in the little time he’s been the coach in Athens.
“Kirby has done a great job with that team,” Orgeron said. “They are going to be a tough team to play, but that night Tiger Stadium is going to be alive, loud. Should be a great college football matchup.”
The LSU schedule is one of the toughest in college football, with four top ten preseason teams on the list.
With the season right around the corner and one of the toughest schedules in college football, the answers to all the questions should become more apparent in the coming weeks.