The end of spring is the start of the work for Danny Etling and LSU offense
BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU wraps up spring practice this week with Saturday night’s spring game at Tiger Stadium. But the work is just beginning for quarterback Danny Etling as the Tigers revamp their offense under new coordinator Matt Canada.
With all the spring’s attention being placed on installing a new playbook, personal improvement and developing a true rapport with a young receiving corps remain goals that Etling wants to work on in his own time this summer.
“I want to have a plan on how I continue to improve. I’ll focus on that once spring and finals are done,” Etling said. “Once we finish with exams, I’ll sit down with Coach Canada to put together a plan on what exactly to work on each week and each day to have a detailed idea.”
Specifically, Etling wants to have better footwork next season.
“It’s a lot more detailed than I can explain now, but there’s a lot I want to work on,” Etling said. “It’s not really with throwing motion mechanics. It’s with feet. Setting a target that can help you become more accurate and consistent.”
There is also the matter of developing perfect timing with LSU’s many fresh faces at receiver. DJ Chark is the only receiver with significant career playing time, and another half-dozen guys are trying to work their way onto the field. With everyone memorizing new plays and responsibilities, the timing element isn’t as sharp as it will need to be come fall.
“In spring you’re just putting in plays. You’re not trying to scheme,” Etling said. “You’re trying to understand the offense and so much ‘What do I do for this and what do I do for that?’ You’re not thinking personnel or ‘Here’s how he runs his route’ or ‘Here’s how he likes the ball.’
“That will continue to grow during the summer. It’s going to be a good time for the receivers and quarterbacks and backs and tight ends to get together and continue to grow.”
Players are able to work out together during the summer, though NCAA rules prohibit LSU coaches from being involved. Now that two-a-day practices have officially been eliminated from college football training camps, Etling hopes the NCAA will be more lenient about allowing summer access to coaches in the future.
“Times have changed since when two-a-days were implemented. Guys weren’t here the entire summer training. They were implemented to get guys coniditioned for the season,” Etling said. “Football’s really changed since then. I think two-a-days are an outdated thing. But I think it would be helpful to schedule more practice time with coaches just to work on individual (drills).”
While installing Canada’s offense has been time-consuming, Etling feels like he’s in a much better place than he was while going through a similar process as a freshman at Purdue.
“This install has been easier to grasp. I was a freshman then and I’m a senior now. And I think the system is easier to grasp,” Etling said. “I think everyone on the team would agree Coach Canada has really perfected the way to teach his offense. So in that aspect, it’s been easier. The plays are complex and tough to understand at times, so the more we’ve practiced the better we’ve got.”