HOOVER, Ala. • Some drop-off was expected for LSU after its run to the 2019 national championship, but when the Tigers were 3-5 and coming off a 55-17 loss to No. 1 Alabama the drop was more than expected.
The Tigers finished with back-to-back wins against Florida and Ole Miss and with experience returning on both sides of the ball are a trendy Top 25 turnaround pick.
There’s not a lot of experience at quarterback, however.
Freshmen TJ Finley and Max Johnson both started games after a season-ending injury to veteran Myles Brennan in Week 3.
Now Finley has transferred to Auburn, and Johnson and Brennan are competing for the job.
“It’s going to be a tremendous battle, and we’ll see what happens,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said.
Brennan was the Week 1 starter against Mississippi state last year. He passed for 345 yards and three touchdowns but couldn’t keep the Bulldogs from a 44-34 upset win.
With Brennan sidelined Johnson wasn’t always in target but avoided mistakes and often found wideout Kayson Boutte open in the middle of the field as the Tigers held off Ole Miss 53-48 in the last game of the season.
Boutte had 308 yards and three touchdowns on 14 catches.
New offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and passing game coordinator DJ Mangas will oversee the quarterback competition.
The 6-foot-5 Johnson appeared in six games last year; the 6-foot-4 Brennan, of Long Beach, has appeared in 20 for his career.
“I believe in both quarterbacks,” Orgeron said. “Whoever wins is going to do a great job at LSU.”