Les Miles knew what kind of quarterback Danny Etling could be from watching tape of his games at Purdue. But even Miles is surprised that he grew into that quarterback so fast.
“We watched his Purdue tape and you could recognize that he could throw the ball and you could recognize that he could handle all the things that his team was going through,” Miles said on his weekly teleconference Wednesday. “He’s matured and I don’t know if you could’ve predicted it, but he has all the characteristics of a quarterback that we would like to consider our starter.”
With Etling now heading into his second week as LSU’s starting quarterback, the — as Miles put it — “unusual circumstances” surrounding Etling’s arrival in Baton Rouge are becoming secondary to Etling’s play on the field. But that doesn’t make LSU’s courtship of Etling any less interesting.
A former Purdue quarterback, Etling elected to transfer after losing his starting job to Austin Appleby, who interestingly enough also transferred and is expected to start for Florida this week. LSU had a slight advantage in the recruiting process given that Tigers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Etling graduated from the same high school. Thanks to that familiarity, Etling reached out to Cameron and the rest, according to Miles, worked out.
“Apparently Danny just wanted to have another experience and we certainly felt like he was a guy who was ready to compete at the very highest level,” Miles said. “I think he contacted Cam and at some point in time decided that they were transferring and it absolutely fed us. We were very pleased and certainly more so now.”
As for the man Etling has replaced as LSU’s starting quarterback, Miles said that Brandon Harris has continued to work hard in practice since his demotion and his attitude is carrying him through what could otherwise be a hard time.
“He’s continued to work hard, to learn, to prepare and to do the things that we’ll need him to do at quarterback, preparing as a starter in a backup position,” Miles said. “He still has a tremendous skill-set and we’re watching him improve. We enjoy the fact that he’s taken the opportunity to improve his skills and work harder instead of in another direction.”