Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU quarterback Danny Etling was named the Tigers' starting quarterback Tuesday night.

Bayou Bengal Briefing: 3 reasons LSU made the right decision starting Danny Etling at QB

Nick Suss

LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

Finally, a decision

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron made the decision fans everywhere have been waiting for Tuesday, officially ordaining fifth-year senior Danny Etling as the Tigers’ starting quarterback. Etling was the logical choice. He completed 59.5 percent of his passes last season in 11 games, throwing 11 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. And he’s the only LSU quarterback with any notable experience.

Yet, the reception toward Etling’s potential is lukewarm to mixed at best. Sure, he’s probably more of a game manager than he is a superstar. He’s not going to be Cam Newton or Tim Tebow by any stretch of the imagination. But he was the right choice for LSU. And here are three reasons why:

1. LSU needs the experience

Etling will be a stabilizing presence for the Tigers offense. After LSU lost Leonard Fournette, Malachi Dupre, Colin Jeter, Travin Dural, Ethan Pocic and Josh Boutte from the starting offense of a season ago, returning Etling will be a step toward leadership and consistency on a unit that’ll sorely need it.

2. Etling played pretty well in 2016

Think about LSU’s two close losses with Etling at QB a season ago. Etling led LSU to beat Auburn with a game-winning drive, but referees overturned the game-winner after Etling completed it. He led LSU within 1 yard of scoring a decisive TD against Florida twice, but LSU’s running backs and special teams flubbed both opportunities. If either of those bounces roll differently, there isn’t even a competition. Etling leads LSU to the Sugar Bowl and retains his starting job. Two yards and an overturned call. That’s the only difference.

3. The freshmen aren’t ready

Freshman quarterbacks Lowell Narcisse and Myles Brennan are talented. They wouldn’t have jumped Justin McMillan on the depth chart and prolonged this QB battle as long as they did if this wasn’t true. But there’s no reason to force these guys in this early in their careers when Etling is here to take that pressure off them. Let them learn and see how game preparation works. Then, if you need them later in the season, they’ll be more prepared. Until then, let the veteran show his wily traits.

Your weekly LSU football poll question

So … do you approve of Ed Orgeron’s choice to name Danny Etling the starter? Vote in the poll below. We’ll discuss your answers in the Bayou Bengal Briefing on Thursday.

As for Derrius Guice …

Etling’s batterymate in the backfield, junior running back Derrius Guice, missed practice again Tuesday. But he had a good reason. While Orgeron characterized the cause of his absence as a “minor injury,” he really had his wisdom teeth taken out.

Just check out these photos tweeted out by fellow LSU running back and former high school teammate Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

He should be back from his “injury” in a few days. (If you’ve never had your wisdom teeth removed, you can click here to learn about the recovery process. If you have, you probably know. Give or take a day.) But whenever he does get back, the expectations on him will still be high.

Guice and outside linebacker Arden Key were named AP first-team All-Americans on Tuesday. In response, neither Guice nor Key practiced; Key is still rehabbing his offseason shoulder surgery and is expected to miss the Tigers’ season opener versus BYU while it heals.

But who was at practice?

I’m glad you asked. Other than Guice and Key, the only notable players absent from practice Tuesday were wide receiver Dee Anderson, running back Lanard Fournette, offensive guard Donavaughn Campbell and defensive end Sci Martin. McMillan and edge rusher Andre Anthony both returned.

If you can’t tell, I was there. Here’s a cool video for proof. It’s of edge rushers K’Lavon Chaisson and Ray Thornton working each other 1-on-1. Give it a watch.

Looking ahead to Sept. 2

The Advocate’s Ross Dellenger took a look into the finances of LSU’s season opener against BYU and why the Tigers play so many neutral site season openers. It’s a quality read and you should definitely give him a click.

But if you want a summary, it’s two reasons: One is recruiting. When LSU plays in Houston or Atlanta or Arlington or wherever, recruits from that area see LSU in person when they usually can’t. The other is money. LSU makes money off neutral site games. It only makes money off the home half of a home-and-home. So, a one-off every year is more profitable.

That’s some food for thought next time you’re wondering why LSU doesn’t play nonconference opponents at home very often.

In former LSU player news

Former LSU offensive lineman Maea Teuhema has found a new home. Teuhema, who played with LSU until two weeks ago, has elected to transfer to Southeastern Louisiana to play alongside his brother Sione.

Teuhema started 10 games and played in 12 for LSU in 2016. Without him, the Tigers are likely to rely on either Lloyd Cushenberry or Edward Ingram at right guard, with Saahdiq Charles also factoring into the mix.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Wednesday is “National Ride the Wind Day.” So, at the request of SEC Country’s own Alex Hickey, here’s a song for you to listen to:

When asked why this song has to be included, he simply responded, “It doesn’t get any smoother than this!” And it’s hard to prove him wrong.

Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns right here.