Leonard Fournette nearly 100 percent, per Miles
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Les Miles again declined to name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s SEC opener against Mississippi State — kind of.
Asked on the SEC Coaches Teleconference if he’d chosen between Danny Etling and Brandon Harris, Miles again decided to keep such information within the program. Then, one sentence later, he more or less confirmed what’s been expected all week.
“We’re going to kind of keep that in house if you don’t mind,” Miles said. “But I can’t imagine that Danny Etling would not take the first snaps. But we’re going to let the week play out, if you don’t mind.”
Etling relieved Harris after the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Jacksonville State and ignited a sputtering offense to three consecutive touchdown drives and a 34-13 victory. He finished the game 6-for-14 for 100 yards with two touchdowns (1 rushing) and an interception.
The incumbent starter, Harris had led the offense to just one offensive touchdown — set up on a short field, no less — in five uninspiring quarters at the helm.
Miles dropped hints at his Monday press conference that Etling would in fact be LSU’s starter. Most around Baton Rouge assumed as much after Saturday’s proceedings. Still, the coach insisted Wednesday he’s still evaluating both signal callers before coming to a decision.
“What will go into that decision will be the game week and how you performed last week,” Miles said.
Asked about his other quarterback, Miles said he and the staff “visited” with Harris. The junior heard boos from the home crowd on Saturday and was videoed bolting off the field immediately following the game. His twitter activity has also been cause for speculation this week.
“That’s certainly the issue, making sure he knows that this is a team and that his talents and abilities need to be prepared going into the game,” Miles said. “I think he understands that. We visited with him. We would think he would understand his role, one in which would allow him to compete from this point forward to start.”
Miles said All-American running back Leonard Fournette is nearing 100 percent health and the coach “expects” he’ll play against the Bulldogs.
“Practice this week is what we’d expect,” Miles said. “He continues to get better and we really want to wait until he’s 100 percent, and he’s really closing in on that right now. We expect that we may have him for Saturday.”
There’s no telling at this point if Fournette practiced on Monday or Tuesday. He warmed up but ultimately did not dress for the Jacksonville State game. He’s recovering from an ankle bruise to the same ankle he sprained during fall camp.
TURKEY DAY BACK
Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that LSU and Texas A&M will no longer meet on Thanksgiving night in College Station after this season.
Miles, asked about it, seemed pleased with the development.
“I enjoy longer weeks of preparation as opposed to short weeks,” Miles said. “I do recognize the rivalry but, again, I’ll accept the turns of the schedule. But again, I enjoy the full preparation instead of a short week.”