BATON ROUGE, La. — There is no joy in losing to Alabama, but for fans of Myles Brennan, there was some optimism to be found in the aftermath.
With Danny Etling struggling in the 24-10 defeat, and no SEC title left to play for, it seemed to be the opportune time for LSU coach Ed Orgeron to start looking to the future with Brennan.
Instead, Orgeron is taking a page out of the Lee Corso playbook — not so fast, my friend. He’s not yet willing to take the keys from his senior quarterback, Etling, and give them to Brennan, the talented freshman from Long Beach, Miss.
“Danny is our starting quarterback, and Danny’s done a good job for us,” Orgeron insisted on Monday. “We’re going to finish the season. Danny is our quarterback. Myles would have to beat Danny out on a play-by-play basis in practice. He’d have to play better than he would in a game.
“He hasn’t done that yet. I would not give Myles the starting quarterback job just to get ready for next year.”
Danny Etling 2017 statistics:
To those fans calling for Brennan, the most important game on the schedule is the 2018 season opener against resurgent Miami. But for Orgeron, the most important game on the schedule is this Saturday against Arkansas. And for that reason he is sticking with Etling.
But here’s the thing — LSU can prepare for next year without punting on this year. Orgeron should give Brennan meaningful reps in LSU’s final four games. It doesn’t require unceremoniously kicking Etling to the curb.
Myles Brennan 2017 statistics:
The template was already established against Syracuse and Troy. Both quarterbacks played. Granted, LSU coaches would need to script out the situation better than they did in those games. Maybe give Brennan two drives in the second quarter and one in the third before going back to Etling.
Orgeron won’t rule out trying something of that nature, but he isn’t committing to it, either.
“[Myles] could play more. But he would play more because he is equal or better to Danny. That’s the reason he’d play,” Orgeron said. “If Danny’s in there, and he’s hot and playing well, he’s our quarterback. We’re playing to win.”
But playing to win and playing Myles Brennan are not mutually exclusive. LSU’s next three opponents are bad enough to allow for experimentation. Arkansas ranks 13th in the SEC in scoring defense. Tennessee is winless in conference play. Texas A&M ranks 11th in the SEC in passing defense.
For Brennan advocates, this suggestion might feel like a half-measure. If the Tigers are going to play him, why not just go all the way and start him?
The answer is simple. It’s Orgeron’s job to give his team the best chance to win, and that’s what Etling does.
But it still will be Orgeron’s job to give his team the best chance to win next season. By providing Brennan with opportunities to play against LSU’s upcoming opponents, Orgeron can achieve both goals.
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