SEC Network analyst Greg McElroy thinks it’s possible that one of LSU’s younger quarterbacks and not senior Danny Etling could start for the Tigers this season.
McElroy said Friday on “The Paul Finebaum Show” that he wouldn’t be surprised if LSU opts to go with an option other than Etling at quarterback.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s close if they went with the younger player,” McElroy said. “I’ve always been one that if you’re going to lean on a senior that it has to be head and shoulders better than the younger option.”
Etling, the returning starter, has been called by Tigers coach Ed Orgeron in the past as the favorite to win the starting job, though no player has yet been awarded the job going into the 2017 season.
Sophomore Justin McMillan, redshirt freshman Lindsey Scott, and true freshmen Lowell Narcisse and Myles Brennan are the other players competing for the job.
“This is Ed Orgeron’s first (full) year,” McElroy said. “This is not a make-or-break season when it comes to his tenure. So if they start with a freshman and allow that offense to grow with that freshman, whether it be Narcisse or Brennan or whoever, Scott, it doesn’t matter. Any of the young guys, they can kind of develop and formulate the offense to that individual skillset as opposed to Danny Etling where it’s kind of a one-year deal and then he’s on to greener pastures.
“So I might lean toward going with the younger guy if it’s in fact a close finish like it appears to be right now.”
Brennan, at least of late, appears to be one player making steady progress up LSU’s depth chart despite only enrolling in June – the most recent of any quarterback on the roster.
Etling started the final 10 games of the season in 2016 after taking over as starter in place of Brandon Harris in the Tigers’ second game. He finished the year with 2,123 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions as LSU went 8-4.
Etling underwent back surgery on April 24 at the conclusion of spring practice and has been rehabbing it this summer.
Etling’s lower back injury also caused nerve pain in his left leg that was said to have been severe enough to the point where he “couldn’t feel” it.
At the SEC spring meetings on May 31, Etling said he felt the best he had in over a year following the surgery.
Orgeron said at the start of fall camp that pro-style quarterbacks like Etling and Brennan will not receive any contact during it.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
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