The LSU Tigers are one of a few teams in the running for former Ohio State backup Joe Burrow. In ESPN analyst Greg McElroy’s opinion, the Tigers landing a competent quarterback would be a welcome change of pace.
McElroy was on Birmingham station WJOX on Tuesday and was asked about LSU’s pursuit of the former four-star recruit Burrow. Before diving into what it would take for any quarterback to succeed at LSU, the former Alabama signal-caller took a playful shot at the Tigers.
“I would love to see LSU with a quarterback in my lifetime,” McElroy said. “Outside of JaMarcus Russell, name a quarterback — I thought [Zach] Mettenberger was really, really good, but they could only do so much with him because he would make some mistakes. I would love to see Joe Burrow be that guy.”
As McElroy explained, the biggest issue that would determine whether Burrow was successful if he chose to go LSU is his mental strength. McElroy pointed out that LSU has had plenty of talented quarterbacks the past few years, but their inability to handle the pressure of starting for the Tigers ultimately held them back.
“It hasn’t been for a lack of talent, so I guess the question I would have if Burrow was the guy was can he handle playing quarterback at LSU mentally? Because that’s been the biggest hurdle,” McElroy said. “It hasn’t been as much about, ‘Oh, he can’t make that throw. He can’t make that throw. He’s limited. He can’t make play-action passes down the field.’ It was more about as soon as something bad happened, do you make it worse or do you make it better? How do things work in that regard?”
McElroy said part of the problem has been that LSU has thrown young quarterbacks into the fire early, which has been too much considering how pressure-packed that role is. McElroy said the older a player is, the more likely he will better handle the negative side of being a starting quarterback.
Having a more experienced quarterback take the reins could play out if LSU lands Burrow, who has already spent three years at Ohio State.
McElroy stressed that it’s hard for the coaches to gauge how ready Burrow is from the mental aspect. However, the analyst still thinks his addition would be a big one for the Tigers.
“Look, you can do your homework the best you can watching the 39 throws he’s made in his career,” McElroy said. “I think he’s pretty good, but not one of those throws has been when you’ve got to have it in a situation when you’re playing against a top-tier defense.
“I don’t know if you know those things until he’s down there, but I do think he’s a better option than what they’ve shown to this point.”