LSU’s reason for stunning the college football world last year. Two words — Joe Burrow — the 36 million dollar man (take that Lee Majors).

LSU’s chances of stunning the world again this year. Two words — Myles Brenham.

Burrow came in and took over, making a good football team even better and orchestrating outstanding football players into  raising their games to a higher level.

His confidence was as contagious as — OK, I’m not going there.

Brenham came into Tigerland with bigger acclaim.

But Burrow was covered in “it.”

The “it” factor.

Burrow was great at reading defenses, improvising on the run and making something out of nothing.

Brenham has not been tested.

But he has certainly shown a lot of patience waiting on his time.

It’s unreal and unfair to expect Brenham to be Burrow.

And Brenham will have a bigger target on his back than Burrow started out with as the quarterback of the defending national champions.

The expectations for this LSU football team are not as high as last year, but then again the college football world was not expecting what LSU pulled off last year.

I mean, really, a 40-10 halftime lead over Alabama???

Burrow helped LSU overcome defensive deficiencies last year (see Ole Miss game). The defense can be better.

It’s going to have to be.

There is no Joe Brady in the press box.

But Steve Ensminger learned a lot under Brady and proved to the the ultimate team player.

I remember when Ensminger first came to LSU in 2010 all I heard was how cocky Ensminger was, and he would not be around for long.

As a player at LSU, Ensminger threw for 2,770 yards and 16 touchdowns during his career with the Tigers. 

Ensminger was named Freshman All-SEC in 1976. Ensminger finished his career with the Tigers with an 11-6 mark as a starting quarterback, which included a 7-4 record in 1977.

And his cockiness as a player was the whispers from people inside the program.

The fact he had coached at 10 places before arriving at his alma mater did not bode well either.

Ensminger was actually offensive coordinator at Georgia, Texas A&M and Clemson before taking the job as head coach at Central High School.

In 2002, Ensminger was the wide receivers coach at West Monroe.

He coached Auburn quarterbacks and tight ends from 2003-08 before taking the job as tight ends coach at LSU in 2010.

He has been at LSU ever since.

Ensminger captured the nation’s heart, and most certainly the hearts of Tiger fans coaching through a tragedy that no person should ever have to experience.

The day LSU defeated Oklahoma in Atlanta in the college football semifinals, Ensminger held the hardest phone call of his life. His daughter-in-law, Carley McCord, a 30-year-old TV journalist, died that Saturday morning in a plane crash near Lafayette en route to Atlanta. His son, Steven Jr., so shaken by the news that family members rushed him to the hospital, lay in a bed in a medicated state, on sedatives, in and out of reality—until dad called.

Just before he took the field for warmups, an hour before he would call plays in his alma mater’s biggest game in eight years, Ensminger, for just a brief few minutes, pushed football aside for family. 

Ensminger called his son. He told him that everything would be O.K., that he’d make it through this dark hour. He told him that he loved him and to be strong and have faith.

LSU won the game 63-28.  Ensminger had a little time to grieve before LSU would beat Clemson for the national championship.

His character and the way he stood tall during the entire postseason is as commendable as any performance on the field during the season.

Ensminger is now left to tutor Brenham on his own.

Brenham’s cannon arm will have the luxury of having Ja’Marr Chase and Terrance Marshall back as targets.

Chris Curry will have to step up his game at running back in the same way Clyde Edwards-Helaire did last season.

Not to mention the expected emergence of slow starter John Emery, who is finally getting whispers about looking like a polished collegiate running back.

A lot of questions to be answered early for the Tigers this year.

But the real question?

Two words. Myles Brenham.



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