It’s a secret: Kelly not ready to announce Tigers’ starting QB

Published 7:53 am Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Brian Kelly knows who LSU’s starting quarterback will be for the Tigers’ season opener against Florida State Sunday in New Orleans.

Presumably the team knows. But Kelly won’t let anyone else know until kickoff in the Ceasar’s Superdome.

Call it season-opening cat- and-mouse game before the game.

“I think it’s a tactical advantage for us not to announce,” Kelly said Monday. “I’m not going to announce it.”

A small thing, perhaps, in not letting the Seminoles know whether Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels or redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier will start under center.

But Kelly acknowledged Florida State got its edge by playing what amounted to a tune-up game to work out the kinks last Saturday in a 47-7 walkover against Duquesne.

“I think there’s some pluses and minuses there. I think we’ve got the advantage that they don’t have any film on us. We’ve got a new head coach. You’ve got new coordinators. There’s the uncertainty for them, not knowing what to expect. So there was a bit of a trade off there.”

He said the decision on the starter was made over the weekend — and did not specify how he planned to keep it a secret until this weekend.

On paper, Daniels and Nussmeier seem to be completely different quarterbacks — Daniels more of a dual threat while Nussmeier is probably the better pure passer. But Kelly said the game plan wouldn’t be much different regardless of who plays.

“They both run extremely well, he said. “They both can make plays outside the pocket … There’s not a dramatic difference between the two when it comes to play calling.”

Kelly, in fact, did not release any portion of the depth chart but did clarify the situation on the offensive line, which the coaching staff spent much of August mixing and matching.

The key, Kelly said, was the staff’s confidence that sophomore Garrett Dellinger was ready to handle a new position.

“Once we felt comfortable with Garrett Dellinger at center, everything else was able to fall into place,” he said. “It was a lot going on there.

“I was pretty demanding on him … since that day, we were able to decide what was the best rotation.”

It left a starting line with freshman Will Campbell and Cam Wire at the tackles and Anthony Bradford and Miles Frazier at the guards around Dellninger

“That’s one of those position groups that … is now much more solidified now.”

He also said it probably didn’t matter who started at wide receiver since the Tigers will take advantage of the talent and depth at the position to play as many as seven or eight.