BATON ROUGE - It took LSU football coach Les Miles just 31 words to completely contradict himself in two consecutive sentences on the Southeastern Conference teleconference Wednesday morning.
Miles was asked if he had made a decision on a starting quarterback for Saturday's game against Mississippi State - either Danny Etling, who came off the bench to lead LSU to a 34-13 victory over Jacksonville State last week, or incumbent Brandon Harris, who was 1-of-4 passing in the game in two possessions with no first downs after struggling the previous week as well in a 16-14 loss against Wisconsin.
"Um, we are going to kind of keep that in house, if you don't mind," Miles said, then immediately let it out of the house when he said, "We, uh, um, um, I can't imagine that Danny Etling would not take the first snaps."
Then Miles reversed his field again as if he was Tre'Davioius White on that 60-yard (officially) punt return Saturday when White ran 21 yards backwards and 15 to 20 yards laterally before turning it up the field.
"But I don't ... we're going to let the week play out, if you don't mind," Miles said.
Miles portion of the teleconference began with technical difficulties as his line was dropped. The technical difficulties continued in a way for Miles' first questioner, who was the Arkansas Democrat Gazette's Bob Holt, who does not have as much experience with Miles frequent contradictions as do LSU beat reporters in Louisiana.
"But if you say he's going to take the first snaps, that means he's going to start, I guess," Holt said. "So, what went into that decision?"
Miles then switched Holt's past tense on the quarterback decision to the future tense, even though Miles had just said he couldn't imagine it would not be Etling.
"Well, what WILL go into that decision will be the game week and how he performed last week," Miles said.
Miles was later asked how he would keep Harris "mentally engaged" if indeed Etling is the starter.
"That's certainly the issue," said Miles, whose upcoming comments about Harris made it sound like Harris was indeed the backup with a possible chance to start in the future. After Harris left practice Monday night, for example, Etling stayed later to work with struggling wide receiver Malachi Dupre. Harris then tweeted, "You smart," on Tuesday to former backup LSU wide receiver Tyron Johnson, who recently left LSU to transfer to Oklahoma State.
"Making sure he knows that this is a team, and his talents and athleticism need to be prepared going into the game and playing significant snaps," Miles said. "And I think he understands that. We certainly have visited with him, and we would think that he would understand his role, which would allow him to compete from this point forward to start."