Change is never easy.
Take LSU quarterback Danny Etling’s situation for a perfect example.
Players build relationships with their position coach. One of those closest relationship perhaps is that of signal caller and the quarterback coach also known as the offensive coordinator.
Etling lost his mentor earlier in the week when LSU fired Les Miles, but more importantly Tiger offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
New LSU interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron made it clear earlier in the week that Etling was going to be the Tiger’s starting guy, he had won Orgeron’s trust and ringing endorsement.
“Danny has earned his spot as the starting quarterback at LSU,” Orgeron said at his first radio show Wednesday night. “He has proven to the team and exemplified that he is one of the leaders of this team. He makes good decisions, he is going to get better as the season progresses. He is our guy.”
When asked if the offense was totally different this week than prior weeks, it was easy to see that Etling was playing things close to the vest, divulging enough information, but not too much.
“I can’t go into too many details, it might give away some of our future plans,” Etling said smiling. “This week has been really different for us. With a new coaching change in mid-season, everyone is reeling, it put us a little behind on game planning, but we overcome it.”
One of the major differences on how this week’s LSU offense performed was simply summed up.
“We executed our game plan better,” Etling said. “We spread the ball out with different formations, we threw the ball which helped open up our running game.”
The old football adage you set up the running game with an efficient passing game was so true in Saturday night’s game with Missouri.
“Our running backs did a great job tonight,” Etling said. “Our offensive line played well. We had some early injuries, but they took the next man up mentality and they all stepped up their game.”
The first offensive series of the game for LSU, the Tigers put four receivers out wide, Etling completed one of his first four passes, but what it proved was this new offense under new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger was going to be a lot more balanced and much more creative.
Knowing that he was the starter at quarterback, allowed Etling to settle in as the game progressed. He finished the night with one of his better performances of the season, going 19-for-30 for 216 yards, no interceptions and no touchdowns.
There is definitely no quarterback controversy at LSU, long as he is healthy and as long as Orgeron is the head coach at LSU, it’s obvious that Etling is going to be the starter.
Coach Ensminger and the offensive staff played to Etling’s strengths, high percentage throws, showed that they weren’t afraid to go deep, and play action passes which in returned froze the Mizzou defense enough to open up huge running lanes allowing LSU to turn in one of its best offensive performances in recent history.
Not bad considering that all of this was accomplished in less than five days.
“It’s been a crazy week,” Etling admitted. “We spent a lot of time in the film room, we will keep getting better each and every week.”
During pregame warm-up Etling was seen smiling, more relaxed which in return paid huge dividends for the Tigers offense.
When asked if he knew what the Tiger’s offense had accomplished by setting a LSU record for most most yards gained against an SEC opponent.
“Really,” Etling smiled. “That’s great, we executed our game plan, and we felt confident going into this game we had a good game plan for Missouri.”
That’s an understatement!
Now the Tigers have to return back to work this week preparing for perhaps LSU’s offense biggest test of the season against a great Gator defense on the road Saturday at Florida.