Lost amid LSU's COVID outbreak and Bama postponement was possible loss of Brennan for 2020

Glenn Guilbeau
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

BATON ROUGE — LSU football coach Ed Orgeron first said it on Monday.

Then he said it again on Wednesday. But it went largely unnoticed.

"There's some discussion of that," Orgeron said Monday when asked if there was any thought of shutting injured starting quarterback Myles Brennan down for the rest of the season because of his abdomen tear and hip injury suffered at Missouri on Oct. 10.

Orgeron had just said Brennan would not play in the then-scheduled game against Alabama on Saturday and miss his fourth straight game, prompting the question.

"The doctors and them are talking right now to see what's best for Myles," Orgeron continued. "We're going to do what's the best for him, whether it's getting it fixed, getting it operated now or wait. We're still discussing that."

LSU quarterback Myles Brennan leaves Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., during the final moments of the Tigers' 45-41 loss at Missouri on Oct. 10. Brennan tore a muscle in his abdomen and hurt his hip in a collision near the goal line of that game and has not played since. He may have surgery and not play again this season, Coach Ed Orgeron has said this week.

That question-and-answer exchange about LSU's No. 1 quarterback would have likely led the news on a normal day.

Instead, it followed eight questions about other topics — the COVID-19 outbreak on LSU's team that went public Monday, the possibility of the Alabama game being postponed because of COVID-19, and the news of wide receiver Koy Moore accusing Baton Rouge Police of harassing him over the weekend. The three officers in question were put on administrative leave Monday as an internal affairs investigation began.

There were several follow-up questions over the next 20 minutes, but none about Brennan, who started LSU's first three games and played remarkably well. Through LSU's first three games, Brennan was not the reason the Tigers were 1-2. He was one of the highest ranked quarterbacks in the nation in passing efficiency at 154.7 on 79-of-131 passing for 1,112 yards and 11 touchdowns against three interceptions.

But the news of him possibly missing the rest of the season did not resonate on Monday. It made statewide websites and papers, but not in headlines or high up in the various stories.

On Tuesday, the LSU-Alabama game was postponed by the Southeastern Conference office, which would postpone four games altogether by Wednesday because of the pandemic, including Auburn vs. Mississippi State, Texas A&M vs. Tennessee and Georgia vs. Missouri.

Stories about the LSU-Alabama postponement and confirmation from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey on the SEC teleconference that other games would be moved around to try to reschedule LSU-Alabama dominated the Louisiana news cycle and the SEC teleconference on Wednesday.

LSU does not have the Dec. 12 makeup date open as it is already playing at Florida on that day in a makeup for a game that was originally scheduled for Oct. 17. The SEC is juggling other games to find a LSU-Bama date as well as a date for the postponed Georgia-Missouri game as Missouri is already playing Vanderbilt in a makeup game on Dec. 12.

"That's going to be the reality moving forward," Sankey said. "The ability to adjust games and modify the schedule will affect more than just the involved teams. We've said this to our membership repeatedly."

Amid that discussion, Orgeron dropped this about Brennan and his injuries on the teleconference: "It doesn't look like he's going to be back unless some miraculous thing happens."

That finally got some play, but still only after the news around the LSU-Alabama game.

Had the Tigers played Alabama, true freshman TJ Finley would have been LSU's only scholarship quarterback. Orgeron even had punter Zach Von Rosenberg practice at No. 2 quarterback with true freshman Max Johnson out because of either a COVID-19 positive test or contact tracing.

"He could be," Orgeron said when asked if Brennan could be out for the year on the SEC teleconference. "We're looking at the injury. We're looking to see if he can come back through rehab (rehabilitation) or if the best thing to do is to go ahead and go through an operation that would help him out."

Orgeron hopes to have Johnson back early next week to prepare for LSU's scheduled game against Arkansas (3-3) at 11 a.m. a week from Saturday. Or that could be against Alabama in Tiger Stadium if the SEC moves other games around scheduled for Nov. 21.

"We'll have a lot more players at practice next week than we have this week," Orgeron said.   

It has been a strange week indeed.

"This is a fluid deal," Orgeron said. "You cannot be confident of anything in this fluid situation."

Brennan sounded as if he still wants to play this season through a comment he made on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

"Just have to keep fighting. Looking forward to being back out there with my guys," he wrote.

LSU (2-3) has just three games left on the schedule and a possible fourth if Alabama is rescheduled.

"We haven't made a final decision (on Brennan)," Orgeron said. 

SEC revamped Saturday schedule

  • Vanderbilt (0-5) at Kentucky (2-4), 11 a.m., SEC Network
  • Arkansas (3-3) at No. 5 Florida (4-1), 6 p.m., ESPN
  • South Carolina (2-4) at Ole Miss (2-4), 6:30 p.m., SEC Network

SEC postponed Saturday games

  • No. 1 Alabama (6-0) at LSU (2-3) - makeup to be announced with LSU at Fla. Dec. 12
  • No. 6 Texas A&M (5-1) at Tennessee (2-4) - makeup on Dec. 12 
  • No. 11 Georgia (4-2) at Missouri (2-3) - makeup TBA with Missouri vs. Vandy, Dec. 12 
  • No. 21 Auburn (4-2) at Mississippi State (2-4) - makeup on Dec. 12