By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Anybody waiting on LSU to bench its starting quarterback shouldn’t hold their breath.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron reiterated Monday in no uncertain terms that senior Danny Etling will remain the starting quarterback as the Tigers head into the final three games of the regular season.
Freshman Myles Brennan played the final drive of a 24-10 loss to Alabama Saturday, and Orgeron said the staff will continue to give him meaningful reps when the circumstances warrant, but the focus is on winning out and reaching the best bowl possible, not preparing for the future.
“Danny is our starting quarterback, and Danny’s done a good job for us,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to finish the season. Danny is our quarterback. Myles would have to beat Danny out on a play-by-play basis in practice. He’d have to play better than he would in a game. He hasn’t done that yet.
“I would not give Myles the starting quarterback job just to get ready for next year. We’ve got a lot of things to play for. We’re thinking one game at a time, and we want to have a very good year. For right now, Danny’s our quarterback.”
LSU is expected to be heavy favorites in remaining games against Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M, two of which will be played at Tiger Stadium. Vegas Insiders pegs the Tigers as an 18.5-point favorite over Arkansas this Saturday.
While any Southeastern Conference title hopes have dissipated, Orgeron spoke to the importance of winning out through the bowl game and chasing a potential 10-win season. LSU’s last 10-win season was 2013.
That’s not to say Orgeron and Matt Canada won’t insert Brennan into a game at a given time. The coach explained his thinking Monday after a series of Brennan-centric questions from reporters.
“Myles can go in any time, but Danny would have to be not executing the game plan,” Orgeron said. “He would have to go to maybe two series not doing the things that Matt wants him to do, and then obviously at the end (against Alabama) we felt that we wanted Myles to get a shot. Danny wasn’t playing that well at the end and wanted to give Myles a shot. But it could happen. It could happen a second series or third series, but Danny hasn’t warranted that yet.”
Etling went 12-of-26 for 137 yards with one interception before being pulled in LSU’s 24-10 loss to the Tide. He took plenty of heat after the game for a number of deep shots down the field that fell incomplete — some throws were catchable, others were not.
For his part, Etling appreciated the vote of confidence but said it’s not his place to worry about a coaching decision.
“If Coach is putting me out there, obviously he has faith in me,” Etling said. “As long as I’m out there, I’ll continue to always be trying to make the right read and the best decision for the team, and continue to try to do what I’m coached to do”
He continued on the possibility of Brennan playing more down the stretch: “That’s really not something for me to understand or say anything on. That’s the coaches and what they want to do. I’ve got to do whatever the coaches say, so that’s what my job is and always will be as the quarterback of this team.”