LSU quarterback Danny Etling has done better job than many realize
After a decade of watching bad quarterback play, you would think LSU fans would appreciate what they have right now.
Danny Etling has given Tiger fans a solid season.
His yards per completion rate is up, from 7.9 yards a pass in 2016 to 9.2 yards this season. Etling is 7th in the nation in the FBS in yards per attempt, ahead of Jalen Hurts of Alabama, Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Sam Darnold of USC.
Etling is also 18th in the nation in pass efficiency. He has thrown 11 touchdown passes, only 2 interceptions.
Yet, there is this notion out there that somehow the 2017 LSU Tigers are only one outstanding quarterback from being a lot better than what they are.
To be fair, Etling has not been perfect. He’s stumbled in two of the biggest games of the year, at Mississippi State and at Alabama.
In Tuscaloosa, he had a chance to connect on some big plays, including a miss on a deep ball to DJ Chark that would have been a touchdown.
But the supporting cast around Etling in LSU’s offense has its share of issues.
The offensive line has been patch work. The opening day left tackle, KJ Malone, missed four consecutive games. LSU has had three starting right tackles.
Two true freshman Saddiq Charles and Ed Ingram have a 14 combined starts over the first 10 games of the season.
Heisman candidate running back Derrius Guice battled a nagging ankle injury for much of the season.
Big plays at receiver have come from just Chark, averaging 24.76 yards per reception. That is second best in the nation.
Chark averages 71.8 yards per game. Yet the next best LSU wide receiver is Russell Gage, averaging 17.3 yards per game.
The tough senior quarterback has battled. Etling has played hurt. He had offseason back surgery.
Etling re-injured his back throwing before the Arkansas game.
When asked by a reporter this week if he was hurt or injured, Etling gave an interesting reply.
“You are always hurting,” said Etling. “There’s a difference between being injured and hurting. You have some things that pop up during a season, and you just move on. And, still play.”
Etling has played solidly, winning 14 of his first 20 starts at LSU. It seems the clamor for head coach Ed Orgeron to put Etling on the bench and true freshman Myles Brennan on the field has subsided somewhat.
At least until Etling makes an ill-advised throw.
So, is LSU only a quarterback away from being a very good team?
Or has the current quarterback done a good job of steering an inexperienced ship?
I say the latter.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…