LSU Football: Brian Kelly provides clarity in the backfield

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - APRIL 17: Garrett Nussmeier #5 of the LSU Tigers throws a pass during the spring game at Tiger Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - APRIL 17: Garrett Nussmeier #5 of the LSU Tigers throws a pass during the spring game at Tiger Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

LSU Football has hit the ground running in the last few weeks at Fall Camp. Now that the extended practice period is over, the school year is upon us and the season is right around the corner, things are going to start to ramp up around Baton Rouge. There are less than two weeks until the Tigers take the field for the first time in the Caesars Superdome on Sunday, September 4. Before LSU takes on—and essentially hosts—Florida State during the first week of the season, there are a lot of question marks on the depth chart.

A number of key positions need to be nailed down by those in contention ahead of the build up to the game against the Seminoles. Two of the biggest attention grabbers throughout the entire offseason have been the vacancies left in the backfield. Brian Kelly and his staff’s presence will ensure a new look team coming into the 2022 season, as will the additions of a new starting quarterback and running back. There are now 11 days until the season officially gets underway, so Kelly has revealed that his decisions will become public in the very near future.

LSU Football will name its starting quarterback soon, according to Brian Kelly

The exit of sixth-year senior Myles Brennan sent shockwaves through the fanbase. Once the dust settled though, the picture was clearer than ever before as it relates to the quarterback competition. It’s come down to two individuals, junior transfer Jayden Daniels and redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier. The new star on campus, freshman Walker Howard, is also expected to get an occasional snap here and there while redshirting his first year.

Kelly has let this contest run its course thus far. The coaching staff has taken as long as it possibly can to decide on a starter. However, it’s been fairly apparent for a few months now that there is a clear favorite in the locker room. The reality of the situation is the Tigers wouldn’t have made such a hard push to get Daniels from Arizona State if they didn’t intend to start him by the fall. To that point, it’s hard to imagine Daniels choosing LSU so soon without being promised a large role.

New offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock spent the last few years in Cincinnati working with dual threat quarterback Desmond Ridder and turning him into one of the country’s elite quarterbacks. Daniels can be seen as a more well-known, versatile prospect than Ridder, who was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Denbrock is chomping at the bit to be able to work with the former Sun Devils star quarterback throughout the season.

Nussmeier largely still seems to be a raw prospect, although the competition lasting this long shows he’s made tremendous progress throughout the offseason.

Meanwhile, the backfield will also feature a fresh face at the running back position. John Emery Jr. will serve a two-game suspension this season that is a direct result of his academic punishment from last year. The veteran is in good academic standing now and he should be ready to suit up against Mississippi State on September 17. Penn State transfer Noah Cain will be given a majority of the workload until that point in time. The Baton Rouge native is being given the opportunity to showcase his talent to his home state early on, which is a huge vote of confidence from the Tigers’ new staff.

After two of the program’s worst seasons in the last two decades, LSU is now entering 2022 with fresh faces all over the field. These individuals will lay the foundation for a new era of Tigers football, beginning in a couple of weeks against Florida State.

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