True freshman quarterback TJ Finley is set to start for LSU Saturday when the Tigers host South Carolina in Tiger Stadium.
Finley will start in place of an injured Myles Brennan who is recovering from a lower body injury he suffered in the Tigers’ Week 3 loss to Missouri.
Finley’s high school coach, Hank Tierney, expects the former Ponchatoula standout to be ready to play and play well when LSU kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“I don’t think the moment will be too big and I think he will be confident in his ability,” Tierney said. "I’m being very honest with you when I tell you that.”
Finley started the past three years for Ponchatoula, throwing for 7,357 yards and accounting for 72 touchdowns during that span. Tierney said Finley has the ability to make every throw and that his physical ability as a passer spurred Tierney to switch Ponchatoula’s offense to a spread.
Tierney said Finley’s offense in high school is very similar to what LSU runs and that the 6-foot-6, 242-pound quarterback’s fit in a spread offensive scheme was one of the reasons he chose LSU.
Tierney added that Finley showed an incredible work ethic both on and off the field.
“He was one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever been around as far as working hard to improve his skillset,” he said. “Extremely high football IQ. I mean, he was an honor student. He graduated in December with a great GPA. So he’s a very smart kid in the classroom but he was also extremely smart on the field.”
Tierney said those traits showed in the way Finley prepared for games.
“Knowing TJ like I know him, he will prepare and he will be prepared as anyone could be,” he said. “And even though he’s a freshman starting in Tiger Stadium, a true a freshman, one year removed from playing in a high school game, I don’t think the moment will be too big for him.”