LSU was facing a 2nd-and-five from the Arkansas 10-yard-line in a scoreless first quarter Saturday. Matt Canada called a bootleg and Danny Etling executed the play fake and roll out perfectly. The pass, however, was not.
Etling airmailed a throw to a wide open Foster Moreau—no easy task considering the tight end is 6-feet-6, 250 pounds.
“Foster Moreau, the tight end, had a possible walk-in touchdown if it was on target,” said ESPN play-by-play man Jason Benetti.
“Those are the gimmees that Danny Etling just simply has to hit every time,” agreed color analyst and former NFL quarterback Kelly Stouffer.
It was a tough miss in a sluggish first half for Etling and the LSU offense that netted only seven points against an Arkansas defense allowing 36 points-per-game.
After the game, Ed Orgeron would admit to considering going to freshman Myles Brennan in the second half.
“In the third quarter,” Orgeron said, “if (Etling) wouldn’t have performed like he did, we would have pulled him.
“We stayed with him. I wanted Danny to know we’ve got confidence in him. It would have been easy to pull him. I didn’t want to do that. Danny has bled purple and gold and I was not going to do that to him. I wanted to give him a chance.”
Etling would reward his coach’s trust by finishing the game with a sterling stat line: 11-for-16, 217 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Etling’s performance became even more impressive Monday when Orgeron provided further context to the senior’s struggles.
“Danny, before the game, was hurt,” Orgeron said. “And (head trainer) Jack (Marucci) came to me and said this is going to be tough today.”
No pro scout is going to mistake Danny Etling for Dan Marino. His lack of ideal measurables is likely why LSU’s bowl game will be the last competitive game of his career. His desire and quiet confidence, however, is something every coach would love in his leader and primarily why Etling has held on to his starting job as long as he has.
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