Two games into the college football season, LSU head coach Les Miles needed to switch things up on offense. That meant pulling quarterback Brandon Harris off the field and sending Purdue transfer Danny Etling out to see what he could do with the Tigers. It seemed to work quite well, albeit against Jacksonville State from the FCS ranks, but Miles is not ready to proclaim any change in his team’s quarterback status just yet.
“We’re not turning our back to competition in any way,” Miles said, according to Gridiron Now. “At that position, I will not name a starter until I talk to my team.”
Etling is entering some familiar territory it would seem. At Purdue, Etling experienced what it is like to both take another player’s job and lose it, so he certainly knows how Harris must be feeling after a frustrating start to the season. Fans may be clamoring for the former Boilermaker to come in and save the season for LSU before a shot at a SEC title and playoff appearance slip away, but there is no guarantee Etling will be able to run the offense as smoothly as he did at times Saturday night once LSU enters SEC play. Jacksonville State may be one of the better FCS programs, but they are a long way from the likes of Alabama and Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
Miles has come to the defense of Harris already this season, so his perceived reluctance to declare a quarterback change at this point is not to be unexpected. Miles has suggested Harris has a problem knocking off some rough moments in a game but continues to trust Harris can do some good things for his offense. What remains to be seen is whether or not Miles allows Harris many more opportunities to prove he can still run the offense before the pressure to give Etling more snaps reaches a boiling point.
The last thing Miles can afford to do is let quarterback indecision drag on to a point where it takes a season off track before it ever truly is given a chance to roll. LSU may already have a loss, but there is still time to recover, so long as Miles figures out what to do at quarterback before it is too late.