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Film Room Presents: Danny Doin’ Work

Etling outshines Heisman hopeful Myles Brennan!

BYU v LSU Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

I love college football and I love LSU. I’ve watched basically every LSU game with my dad. I can name you on one hand the times LSU was playing and we weren’t watching together. The only place we haven’t watched LSU together is in Death Valley.

My dad got sick this summer. It was a big deal and it still is a big deal. I had a lot of time to think about my relationship with him and at first I was embarrassed by how much it revolves around sport. It’s so damn superficial, I would think. We watch our favorite teams religiously. It’s what we talk about. He comes to watch all the games that I coach and he came to watch all my games when I was playing. My life revolves around football and it’s because of him. Maybe it’s not that superficial after all. I know, for a fact, that a lot of you dudes reading this have a similar relationship with a parental figure in your life. On the other hand, some people don’t have any relationship with their dad and I get one who drives 3 hours to come see me sit in a booth with a headset on.

And so, during this time, I often questioned whether I’d get to watch another game with him. We’ve been lucky that he’s relatively better now having done a couple long hospital stays in the past few months. He watched me coach Team Canada in June from the hospital bed and last week missed his first ever game game for the school I coach in the fall. He’s back home now and regaining his energy but couldn’t make it out to our home game on Saturday night so after securing our first win of the season I rushed back to my parents place to watch our LSU Tigers. It was good. It was really good.

Oh and I also love Danny Etling. LSU came to a do a job against BYU and they did it. I hate the game manager term that everyone applies to Etling. He’s not a game manager, he’s a good quarterback. You saw it in the ‘Dome: The amount of out breaking routes he put on the money was great. Did he have to make a ton of 2nd reads? No. But when he did, he was able to get the ball to the right receivers. My favorite thing about him was how accurate he was. You can go a long way at the quarterback position if you can be accurate with the football. On the other side of the ball, Tanner Mangum was awfully inaccurate. Put Danny behind the BYU center and the Cougars at least cross midfield.

As noted, Danny threw a lot of outside breaking routes, even to the strong side and he put them on the money every single time. BYU played a sort of quarters/man on the outside, zone inside defense, so, often, the LSU wide receiver would take the cornerback out of the picture opening up room to the sideline. One of the problems BYU had was with how they played their nickelback/hybrid defender #4 Fred Warner. He never chased any out routes because presumably doing that would put him in more of a pass coverage role rather than a run stopping role which BYU needed against the LSU run game.

And now heeeeeeeere’s Danny!

This is a cool play because Danny is actually checking to see if he can throw that weakside hitch route before going on his designed rollout. The concept that he has to the strongside if a smash concept where he’ll read the corner. The corner is leaves with the receivers route so Danny hits the flat route in stride.

Here’s the same play but Danny throws the hitch right off the bat


These one’s above are also cornerback reads, and Danny delivers them in rhythm. The outside receiver is either running a post or a fly route and when the cornerback locks on to him and runs down the field, there’s an opening for the slot to run a nice sail route to the sideline. Again, Danny throws it accurately every time.

Here’s a little high/low on that one linebacker. BYU sends 5 guys, leaving them with 1 backer and that’s Danny’s read. The backer falls back on the route from the inside slotback. This means Danny is to throw to Foster Moreau underneath. He does, and while it’s not the best throw, it probably should be caught. Either way, Danny needs to put it inside because the whole point of Moreau’s route is to gain inside leverage on the nickel back. You throw that outside and that’s where the defender is. Good read, bad throw.

An LSU classic here. Two safeties so Danny is reading the one closest to Chark, on the near side of the screen. That safety, No. 17, bites down and it’s a relatively easy pitch and catch.

This is the first time Canada calls his classic “spot/snag/y-corner/whateveryouwannacallit”. Again, it’s a corner read for Etling, but now he has a second read added. The corner plays deep, so the corner route is nullified. Now, Danny reads the Nickelback to decide whether to throw the spot route to Chark or the flat route to Guice. The BYU No. 4 doesn’t budge much so Danny throws the flat route and Guice goes to work.

And again:

The corner is kinda high here, so Danny works the underneath guy to throw the flat again.

LSU has a run play called with a pass concept to the three-receiver trips side. With BYU’s #4 blitzing, this leaves a window to throw the quick route to Moreau. Danny pulls it for some free yards.

Another cornerback read and you can see the corner bail on the snap, so Danny throws accurately to the sideline.

Again, it’s an easy throw against an off corner. The read here is to see if the defender over the slot receiver, stays there or buzzes to the flat under the outside route. He stays home, so Danny throws to Chark.

Look at that beauty. What most likely happened is that Chark took the top off the defense and then Gage won his one-on-one battle to the corner and Danny dropped in a beauty.

Both goaline rollout plays are played really well by BYU and there is nothing Danny can really do here.

This shovel pass is another Canada classic. This is a bad read from Danny. He needs to shovel that inside to Guice. The end comes straight at Etling, opening the room to deliver to Guice.

All in all, this was a crisp day from the passing game. If teams are going to give Danny his first read all the time, this is what he can do. His movement in the pocket and accuracy were very good and at least for one more week Myles Brennan will remain the backup quarterback