Most of us have come into camp with somewhat similar expectations of Danny Etling as LSU's starting quarterback. So what do you think of Ed Orgeron's recent comments regarding freshman Myles Brennan?
I'm not sure that Coach O's comments mean much. They obviously think highly of Myles, and that's good to hear, but for him, or any of the other guys to unseat Etling would be a massive challenge. Quarterback is unlike other positions because there's only 1 on the field. There's no "Ok, let's a get a d-line rotation in for the BYU game" and then you get to see Brennan for a series before Danny goes back in. Therefore, if you're going to start a younger guy over last year's starter he must be head and shoulders above him. I doubt Myles will be that far ahead of Danny by game 1. There's a lot of loss aversion that goes on when deciding on a starter at quarterback. You put Myles in against BYU and he's not ready, you finna be 0-1 before the season really starts. That's the loss aversion aspect. You look at 2016 and I think the coaching staff knew that Danny was the better QB but still didn't pull the trigger until it was, ostensibly, too late.
It means nothing. I mean, what is Coach O supposed to say, "Etling is clearly our No. 1 starter and no one else on the roster is near where he is right now. Brennan is going to be good, y'all, but he's a true freshman. I'm trying to redshirt this kid so he doesn't get torn in half by an opposing lineman by accident."
You want competition and you want your players going out there every day trying to prove themselves, but he doesn't have much leverage on Etling. The competition is over. He's the starter and the only way Brennan sees a snap this season is if something goes terribly wrong. But he also doesn't want the fanbase to flip out if he states the obvious that Etling is leagues better than his veteran backups and the hotshot blue chip recruit isn't ready yet. So he found a way to phrase it to hype up the competition and get us all excited over Myles' talent. Good. But it means nothing. This is Etling's show.
I've been on record as predicting a redshirt for both of the freshmen quarterbacks, with Justin McMillan entrenched in the backup role for the upcoming season. So the first time a source told me the Myles Brennan hype was legit, I had to say I was pretty surprised.
I do have to say that I see some wisdom in maybe only redshirting one of them, to create a little separation in eligibility. That said, Poseur's right — playing another freshman this year is really tough to envision short of a major injury or some major blowout wins and a lot of garbage minutes. If Orgeron and Canada are serious about Brennan backing up Etling, then they will need to try and get him some of those garbage snaps against Chattanooga in week two. And not just to hand the ball off.
But most importantly, be sure. As much as anything, time has played its part in LSU's inability to develop quarterbacks in recent years. Who really got it? Anthony Jennings was the backup as a true freshman, then the starter the next year, ditto Brandon Harris. Would either have benefited from some time to sit behind other guys and take the job later on? I don't know that it dramatically changes their stories, but it certainly helps their circumstances. My best case scenario for Brennan or Lowell Narcisse has always been for Etling to handle things this year, then some sort of veteran placeholder, at least until one of them is ready. If we're jumping that line it will be the real test for Orgeron to try and break the LSU quarterback cycle.
I think they're just a nice way of speaking highly and showing off what they have in Brennan. And also always ramping up the "competition" theme that has defined Orgeron's run as LSU coach so far.
But I doubt it means anything with regard to whether he'll win the job. Etling's a 5th year senior quarterback who played well last season and has by all accounts done well so far. Unless he's more hurt than they're letting on after the back surgery, I don't think we'll be seeing anyone else under center to start the year. And as much potential and hype as Brennan has, I think it'd be a mistake if he was.
Let's get one thing straight — Myles Brennan is not going to become the starter at any point this season unless something especially terrible happens to Danny Etling. I've seen a lot of the fan base pulling for Brennan, but throwing a freshman quarterback into the fire and expecting him to be a star is highly unrealistic.
Danny Etling is a fifth-year senior who has shown he can succeed in this offense in a very short period of time. And the LSU offense is no easy system to learn. It's rather complicated compared to a lot of other programs, really. Based on his comments in recent press conferences, Orgeron wholeheartedly believes this is Etling's team. He has a large appreciation for Brennan's talents, but sees him for what he is - a freshman.
But Brennan most definitely has the edge over the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster, and I do see him getting the starting nod next year, granted that things keep going in the direction they currently are.
Sorry, did y'all say something? Was helping Myles book his flights to NYC.
If any fanbase should know how bad if an idea it is to rush a quarterback recruit on to the field as a freshman before they are ready, it is this one. We have a decade's worth of examples of players getting forced to play as freshman, and it stunted their development: Ryan Perrilloux, Jarrett Lee, Jordan Jefferson, Anthony Jennings, and Brandon Harris. Let's not add Myles Brennan to that list.
There's a balance to it. If he's truly your backup option, you have to live with the idea that he's also completely devoid of any experience, so if he does have to sub in for an injury, that could be really bad, especially against a good defense. But at the same time, you don't want to undermine Etling in the process.
The Chattanooga game is kind of a weird spot. You go on the road the very next week and you want to make sure the first-string has a good set of reps and a little bit of polish before they have to see live fire in the SEC. So that creates a balancing act -- but one that I think this staff may be in a better shape to deal with than the previous one. Yes, "secure victory." But if the offense can come out guns blazing early on, maybe you can even give Brennan the whole second half? Of course, it would help if Etling plays well in week one as well, so as to keep that confidence level up.
Look, #8Heismans is not merely a hashtag, it's a way of life.
The bottom line is I expect Myles Brennan to be taking serious snaps before the end of the season, one way or another. O's tepid commitment to Etling combined with the rapid ascension of Brennan suggests they think they have something special. The ultimate bombshell would be naming him starter ahead of BYU. Last year they sat on the better QB and it cost them a game vs. Wisconsin. This year's schedule doesn't open nearly as aggressively, so would be the ideal time to break in a new QB.
Etling gives you a higher floor, but Brennan is the future. The decision comes down to whether or not you think the gap in performance in Senior Etling to Freshman Brennan is big enough to leave the future starter on the bench, or is it so close you may as well have him take his lumps in a year where expectations are low anyhow?