Kelly has picked LSU’s QB but keeping it secret

  • Covers the SEC.
  • Joined ESPN in 2012.
  • Graduate of Auburn University.

LSU coach Brian Kelly knows who will start at quarterback when the Tigers open the season against Florida State on Sunday in New Orleans. He’s just not willing to say who yet.

“Everybody here wants to know who the quarterback is. I get that,” Kelly told reporters Monday. “But I think it’s a tactical advantage for us not to announce it.”

Kelly went on to say that Florida State having played on Saturday was an “advantage for them.” The Seminoles beat Duquesne 47-7.

“The advantage for us is that we haven’t played,” Kelly said. “So it doesn’t help us to give up any of our cards in that sense.”

Kelly won’t announce whether it’s Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels or sophomore Garrett Nussmeier until game day. But whoever the backup is, he said, should be ready to play.

“There’s some great similarities between the two of them in terms of what they’re able to do,” Kelly said. “They both run extremely well. They both can make plays outside the pocket. And certainly we don’t have to change the playcalling. There’s not a dramatic difference between the two when it comes to playcalling.

“So you can imagine that when we’re talking about both quarterbacks, this is a 1A and 1B. This is not a one and a two. And both of them are obviously going to contribute this year.”

In three seasons as the starter at Arizona State, Daniels appeared in 29 games, throwing for 6,025 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for 1,288 yards and 13 scores.

Nussmeier backed up former LSU quarterback Max Johnson for much of last season, appearing in four games. He completed 29 of 57 passes for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Sunday will mark the first game of Kelly’s tenure at LSU.

In late November, he signed a 10-year, $95 million contract with the Tigers, leaving Notre Dame after 12 seasons.

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