Ed Orgeron still thinks Danny Etling is in the pole position to be LSU’s starting quarterback this fall.
“When he’s healthy, I think he will be hard to beat,” Orgeron said Monday during the SEC Coaches spring media teleconference.
Etling underwent a medical procedure on his back two days after the end of LSU’s spring practices, but should be throwing again next month.
The senior from Terre Haute, Ind. started 10 games for LSU last season after taking over for Brandon Harris, who has since transferred to North Carolina. LSU went 7-3 in the games Etling started. He passed for 2,123 yards, going 160 of 269 with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Orgeron was honest in describing Etling as a “game manager.”
“He can manage a game with the short throws and check downs, be a leader out there,” Orgeron said. “He’s also very good at throwing the deep ball.”
Orgeron said that the Tigers opened up the quarterback competition this spring for the benefit of new offensive coordinator Matt Canada. They wanted to see which quarterback would take best to the new system.
“The reason we opened it up is because we have a new offense,” Orgeron said. “We wanted to give a pro-style guy a chance, a dual-threat guy a chance.”
Though he had an underwhelming spring game, going 4 of 11 for 53 yards and an interception, Etling remained the most consistent LSU quarterback through 15 spring practices. Orgeron mentioned that yet-to-enroll freshman Myles Brennan will be given a fair shake in August camp — but to this point, it very much remains Etling’s job to lose.
“Nobody has beaten him out yet,” Orgeron said.