LSU's lack of depth under center was noted at the beginning of the 2002 campaign, but it became a haunting reality when starting quarterback Matt Mauck went out midway through the season with a foot injury.
The Tigers had only one quarterback with any game experience behind Mauck in sophomore Marcus Randall, and he had only taken a few snaps in mop-up action. Other than that, LSU coach Nick Saban had a true freshman, a redshirt freshman and a junior college transfer to provide depth in case of another emergency.
Saban hopes to avoid that pitfall in the future and he has taken steps to ensure that his team will not have to deal with those shortcomings again. LSU has already secured commitments from two of the top quarterbacks in the country in Robert Lane and Matt Flynn and there could be another talented signal caller on the way.
Omarr Conner (6-1, 205, 4.5), rated the eighth best quarterback in the country by TheInsiders.com, has not narrowed his field any and is still looking at all of the SEC schools along with West Virginia. He had a terrific senior season where he passed for more than 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns, while adding over 700 yards and 23 scores on the ground. Those numbers have college coaches salivating over the thought of landing this field general.
"I'm like a Michael Vick type of quarterback," Conner told Tiger Rag. "I can make plays with my legs and I can make them with my arm, but I would rather throw than run."
Conner said he will schedule an official visit to Baton Rouge to check out the LSU campus and the surrounding area. He made an unofficial trip to the LSU when the Tigers defeated another team he is considering - Ole Miss. Tiger Stadium is known as one of the best venues for a night game in college football and the LSU faithful did not do anything to damage the stadium's mystique on that cold November evening when the Rebels left with a 14-13 loss.
"It is wild in there," Conner said. "All of those Tiger fans were roaring and screaming in Death Valley. It was tight."
Saban made his official in-house visit with Conner and his family not long after the win over Ole Miss and he made it clear to Conner that he was high on the Tigers' wish list for 2003.
"It went good," Conner said of their visit. "My mom thought he was a good person. They touched base one-on-one and spent some time alone. I'm the baby, so she wanted to make sure I'm going to be taken care of."
Growing up as the youngest of the bunch, Conner has spent his years following in the footsteps of his older brothers and sisters. He said his siblings have played a large role in developing his strong leadership skills and his unquestioned character.
"I'm a motivator and a leader," he said. "I feed off of my teammates. If they play good, then I'm going to play good. I am the type of person that will always be there for my teammates regardless of the situation."
Determining who his future teammates will be is the current task at hand for Conner. He plans on narrowing his list of choices to five over the holidays and he knows what he is looking for from his future coach.
"Whoever is there making the calls and doing a great job of recruiting me as a person is where I'll end up," said Conner. "I need somebody that will be up front with me and not shoot the bull with me.
"If I can't play quarterback, then I don't want to go to your school."
All Conner says he wants is a chance - just a chance.
Sonny's View: Omarr has some work to do on his test score before he is a full academic qualifier and he is intent on playing quarterback. Will the decisions of Robert Lane and Matt Flynn coming to LSU affect Conner's decision? Time will tell.