THIBODAUX - Myles Brennan knows that he is the old man in the room.
He is a sixth-year senior and the oldest candidate in a three-way starting quarterback competition at LSU football. This will be the fourth time he's fought for the same job and the last time he'll get a chance to win it.
All of that pressure and intensity hang over Brennan. And yet, he doesn't want any of that to interfere with the relationships he's forming in LSU's quarterback room.
"In a normal competition you're probably butting heads," Brennan said on Friday at the Manning Passing Academy. "We know it's a competition, but we're friends more than we are just sitting there and banging heads with each other."
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Those friends are redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier and Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels, the other serious contenders for the starting job. There's also freshman Walker Howard from Lafayette, a top-50 recruit nationally and the fourth member of the room.
The foursome has fostered an environment open to collaboration and welcoming of improvement.
"We're all pushing each other. I mean, I learn things from Nussmeier, I learn from Jayden and we all pick each other's brains," Brennan said. "So I don't think it's like Walker's on the bottom of the chart since he's a freshman. No, we're all pushing each other."
Howard, in particular, is someone Brennan has created a unique relationship with, as the former St. Thomas More star was in seventh grade when he was a freshman at LSU.
"I've kind of taken him under my wing ... to kind of treat him like the younger brother that I never had," Brennan said.
This isn't the first time in his career that Brennan has formed a tight relationship with a competitor at his position. This week he's had the chance to catch up with former teammate Max Johnson, who transferred to Texas A&M after being LSU's starter last year.
The two developed a strong relationship during their two seasons together.
"We'll be friends for life," Brennan said. "I just wish him the best."
The journey Brennan has gone on just to get to this point would have impressed Odysseus.
In his first crack at the starting quarterback job in 2018, he lost the spot to Joe Burrow. Then after serving as his backup during LSU's 2019 national title run, he briefly became the starter in 2020 before he tore a muscle in his abdomen in Week 3. Last year, flip-flops and a loose board sent him tumbling during a fishing trip in August, breaking his left arm in the fall and ending his chances of winning back the job before it started.
All of those setbacks resulted in Brennan entering the transfer portal in November. But he took his name out after a last-second plea from new coach Brian Kelly to stay.
Plenty of schools would have happily handed Brennan a starting job. He could have entered the portal a second time after LSU added Daniels.
But that's not what he wanted.
"I want it to be hard. I want it to be a challenge," Brennan said. "I know I have one year left, but my whole career has played out for this exact moment.
"Why take the easy road if it's been hard the whole time?"
Brennan is the old man in the room but he doesn't hold any grudges.
If he had any, he wouldn't have returned.
"I don't know what it is, I just know something good is coming," Brennan said.
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Myles Brennan makes most of LSU football quarterback competition