First impressions are often powerful, and they can be lasting.
The first impression LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier offered to his new coach Brian Kelly on Tuesday was a freshman standing in uniform on the sideline watching the Tigers lose 42-20 to Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.
Nussmeier sat out the game rather than serve as LSU’s starting quarterback in a move to preserve a redshirt season. This stemmed from a “collective decision” between Nussmeier and the team, interim coach Brad Davis said after the game.
“We didn’t want to put him in that position,” said Davis, a member of fired coach Ed Orgeron’s staff.
The Athletic reported Tuesday that LSU left the decision to Nussmeier, and I doubt LSU would have withheld Nussmeier if he stated a desire to play.
Previously, Nussmeier and his family elected to have him sit the final two games of the regular season so he wouldn’t burn his redshirt year, according to Orgeron.
Devoid of any scholarship quarterbacks Tuesday, LSU (6-7) handed the reins to wide receiver Jontre Kirklin. Its offense became mostly one-dimensional against Kansas State (8-5).
Kelly, whom LSU hired from Notre Dame in November, probably didn’t care about the outcome of a bowl game in which he didn’t coach.
Nonetheless, LSU has an open quarterback competition in 2022, and if Nussmeier had played, he would have received the first chance at showing Kelly he deserves the reins.
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I understand why NFL-bound players opt out of bowl games. Like it or not, they’re evaluating risk and making a business decision in a sport that’s all about money. Kelly epitomizes that culture. He left Notre Dame while it still had a chance of qualifying for the College Football Playoff for a richer contract at LSU.
But that doesn’t explain Nussmeier being sidelined for the bowl. He’s not heading for the NFL, and his best business move is to secure a Power Five starting quarterback job as quickly as possible.
Dazzling in the Texas Bowl could have helped put Nussmeier on that path.
Perhaps Nussmeier will be a starting college quarterback as a fifth-year senior in 2025, thanks to sitting out this bowl, and this move will have paid off.
But most freshman quarterbacks who were coveted four-star prospects, like Nussmeier was, are confident creatures who would expect to be in the NFL by 2025.
Nussmeier will join veteran Myles Brennan and incoming five-star freshman Walker Howard as contenders to be LSU’s starting quarterback in Kelly’s first season.
“All three of them will get an opportunity,” Kelly said during an in-game interview with ESPN. “I always say, the centerpiece here is the quarterback position. They’ll all have an opportunity to compete.”
Brennan would be a tempting option if he returns healthy from an off-the-field injury to his throwing hand suffered while fishing in August that sidelined him for the season. He started the first three games of 2020 and threw for 1,112 yards before a lower abdomen injury shelved him. He hasn’t appeared in a game in nearly 15 months.
“Certainly, we love having a veteran in Myles in there who’s done it, who’s been out there,” Kelly told ESPN on Tuesday. “That provides you a very similar situation that I had at Notre Dame (in veteran Jack Coan, a Wisconsin transfer) this past year, and we can go to work.”
Just how much does Kelly like Howard, his first quarterback signee? Well, consider that Kelly performed some dance moves with Howard while Garth Brooks’ "Callin' Baton Rouge" played in a video Howard posted ahead of the December signing period.
“Walker Howard is a five-star quarterback, and you know that you’ve got to do what your quarterback asks,” Kelly said on ESPN. “If he says you’ve got to dance, why won’t you dance?”
Nussmeier served as LSU’s backup this season behind Max Johnson, who transferred to Texas A&M.
Players are allowed to play in up to four games and use it as a redshirt season. Nussmeier appeared in his fourth game on Nov. 13 against Arkansas. For the season, he completed 50.9% of his passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The NCAA should consider changing its redshirt rule so that playing in a bowl game would not count against a redshirting player’s four permitted games. Given the number of players transferring before bowls or opting out of them, bowls are somewhat turning into exhibitions for the upcoming season.
Why should playing in such a game cost a player a redshirt year?
Under the current landscape, Nussmeier and LSU faced a choice, and they curiously made it with an eye toward 2025.
Source : https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/sports/college/lsu/2022/01/05/garrett-nussmeier-lsu-football-quarterback-brian-kelly-texas-bowl-kansas-state/9075501002/1196