LSU coach Les Miles has officially named former Purdue transfer Danny Etling as the starting quarterback for the Tigers’ SEC opener on Saturday against Mississippi State.
Etling steps in for Brandon Harris, who struggled for the first game and a half before being pulled in favor of Etling in the Tigers’ home-opener against Jacksonville State. Harris had completed 13-of-25 passes for 139 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his two starts against Wisconsin and Jacksonville State.
With Harris under center, the threat of big plays in the passing game wasn’t there, as the Tigers averaged only 5.6 yards per attempt through the air. The hope is that Etling can at least provide that threat.
Against Jacksonville State, Etling completed 6-of-14 passes for 100 yards, one touchdown and one interception — he also added a rushing touchdown. It’s not a performance that blew anyone away, but it was a marginal improvement. For a team in desperate need of something to work in the passing game to keep opponents from loading up the box against Leonard Fournette, the Tigers are making a desperation move in Week 3.
It’s not a great option for Les Miles, but it’s really the only option he has. Harris wasn’t working and hadn’t made the improvements LSU was hoping for from last year to this year. Etling might not be any better, but for a team that started the season with dreams of a College Football Playoff appearance, the Tigers have to give it a shot.
If it works, Miles can cool off his hot seat a bit and LSU can start trying to work its way back into the SEC title conversation despite the opening loss to Wisconsin. If it doesn’t, at least Miles will know he exhausted his options at the weakest position on his roster.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Les Miles makes only choice he could, names Danny Etling as LSU’s starter