BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - My trip to the LSU spring game was for the sole purpose of evaluating the quarterbacks. I wanted to get an up close look at this competition to see exactly what LSU was working with with each player. I had no intention of doing a film study. But given the chatter surrounding this topic since Saturday, I had to go to the tape and re-check what I was looking at.
So I logged every throw to thoroughly evaluate Justin McMillan, Lowell Narcisse and Myles Brennan. Then I watched each pass again. And then again. And then again.
The final stats have no bearing on this evaluation. There were far too many sacks that weren't called, flags that weren't thrown and protection breakdowns to take those numbers seriously.
This evaluation is based solely on what the tape told me about each prospect based on: execution, accuracy, arm strength, mobility and body language.
Pros: McMillan took the first team reps at quarterback and executed what he was asked to do the best of the trio. He has a veteran cool about him. He doesn't seem bothered by the quarterback competition which allows him to play loose. He has the best body language of the three quarterbacks. Physically, he has a nice touch on the deep ball and good escapability to extend plays.
Cons: McMillan has limited arm strength. When he tries to utilize the middle part of the field his passes tend to fall apart. He was nearly picked off twice on in-breaking throws in this area. He only completed one pass, a short curl, between the numbers.Every other completion went to the sideline.
Best Throw: Late in the second quarter, McMillan connected with Drake Davis for a 33-yard touchdown pass. McMillan stared down the rush and d ropped a beautiful ball to Davis at the goal line.
Worst Throw: In the first quarter, McMillan tried to hit Jonathan Giles on a dig/deep cross route. There was no zip on the pass. The ball was easily undercut and could have been picked off.
Pros: Narcisse has a similar skillset to McMillan except he's bigger, stronger and with a better arm. He has a smooth, effortless delivery on his deep passes. He did a nice job of eluding the pass rush on a couple of occasions. You can sense the big play potential once he gets some seasoning.
Cons: He struggles with accuracy. Too many of Narcisse's passes require great catches from his receivers. The Justin Jefferson 94-yard touchdown was the perfect example. The pass was a simple out route that was off target. Jefferson made an incredible one-handed catch and outran everyone to the end zone. Like McMillan, he rarely utilizes the middle of the field. Unlike McMillan, he isn't as comfortable with the system.
Best throw: In the third quarter, Narcisse connected with Racey McMath on a square in to convert on 3rd and 13. This was the second of two of Narcisse's completions inside the numbers. He showed good poise in the pocket to the let the route develop and not flinch at the rush.
Worst throw: Narcisse's first pass with the first team offense was an out route to Giles. It should have been an easy completion to get him into rhythm, instead Narcisse threw it low and away for an incompletion.
Pros: Brennan is a gunslinger with the best arm talent of the three and the quickest release. He is very effective working between the hash marks in the intermediate to deep part of the field. When he gets into rhythm, he can be prolific. He's also more mobile than he's getting credit for. The d ropped touchdown pass by Dillon was a good example.
Cons: Physically, he must add 10-15 pounds to his frame or he won't make through the SEC gauntlet. While he does have great arm strength, Brennan still needs some refining on throws that require touch. This was evident on a fade route in the end zone where he overthrew his receiver. It should have been a touchdown. At times, it feels like he's trying too hard live up to the expectations of being the starter. When he's relaxed and slinging the ball around, he is at his best.
Best Throw: Late in the first quarter, Brennan zipped one through three defenders to Terrance Marshall on a deep in for 23 yards. Brennan is the only quarterback on the roster that can make that throw.
Worst Throw: His interception was both a bad throw and a bad decision. I'm not sure what Brennan saw pre-snap but he was going to his receiver the whole way and badly overthrew him. John Battle made the easy interception.
First off, take a deep breath Tiger fans. The anxiety surrounding this position from the fanbase is understandable given how mediocre it's been over the last few years. But, it is only April. Teams are not supposed to be finished products right now.
Overall, I left Tiger Stadium believing McMillan had the best day but was not the best quarterback. After watching the film, I still feel that way.
None of the quarterbacks took over the game. Each had their moments but each had obvious flaws. However, it's easy to see that the ceilings on Brennan and Narcisse are much higher. I believe Brennan is still in the lead in the competition. But regardless of who wins this job, there will be growing pains.