Etling is Tigers' full-time starter
BATON ROUGE - The plan now is for LSU starting quarterback Danny Etling to play the complete game when the Tigers return to Southeastern Conference play Saturday at No. 20 Florida.
"You know Danny is our starter," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Monday at his weekly press conference. "And he is our starter. Hopefully, we can go four quarters with him. It's a very big football game."
Etling, a senior, has started all five games for the Tigers (3-2, 0-1 SEC) this season after starting the final 10 last season. True freshman No. 2 quarterback Myles Brennan has played in three games, but in the last two games, he entered with the game still on the line in the third quarter and threw interceptions in each.
Orgeron called his interception in the 24-21 loss to Troy on Saturday "critical" twice after the game. It happened on the second play of the fourth quarter with LSU down 17-7 when Brennan misread a coverage. The next time LSU got the ball, it was down 24-7 with 8:09 to play.
Etling, who had been replaced after halftime with LSU down 10-0, then replaced Brennan and took LSU on back-to-back scoring drives as he threw touchdown passes of 34 and 20 yards to wide receiver Russell Gage and tight end Foster Moreau, respectively, to get the Tigers within 24-21 with 1:59 to play. Etling threw a desperation interception with five seconds to go from LSU's 36-yard line. It was his first pick of the season and just his second over his last nine games.
"We have never planned to play Myles in one of the SEC games, just to throw him in there," Orgeron said Monday. "We were just preparing Myles in case Danny got hurt so that he would have some snaps, and I think he performed pretty well."
Orgeron was asked about any fighting over offensive strategy with offensive coordinator Matt Canada at the press conference.
"Obviously, this is Matt's offense," Orgeron said. "And he brought it in, implemented every play, everything. I did step in last week for the first time. I wanted to simplify only the shifts and motions. I knew we were going to start two freshmen linemen, so I wanted the guys to be in place so we knew how to block them."
Orgeron also said cutting down on the shifts and motions would decrease the offense's pre-snap penalties, which were plentiful over the first three games.
"That's all I've ever done," said Orgeron, who hired Canada from Pittsburgh after the regular season last year when Orgeron was promoted from interim head coach to head coach. "This is Matt's offense. He runs it. He calls it. He scripts the plays. This is his offense."
Orgeron was asked how Canada took the news last week that the shifts and motions, which Canada is known for, were to be limited.
"All fine," Orgeron said. "I'm the head coach."