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Danny Etling is lead candidate for LSU starting QB; Ed Orgeron emphasizes open competition

Danny Etling is lead candidate for LSU starting QB; Ed Orgeron emphasizes open competition
Published On: Tue, Mar 07
Oct 1, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers interim head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates after he is dunked with a cooler by quarterback Caleb Lewis (8) and wide receiver Stephen Sullivan (10) following a win in his first game against the Missouri Tigers at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Missouri 42-7. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Orgeron suggested he likely knows the outcome of LSU's spring quarterback competition, but the coach will not simply hand the job to incumbent starter Danny Etling.

Although Orgeron said the fifth-year senior "has had an excellent offseason," he still wants Etling to earn the job over inexperienced reserves Justin McMillan, Lindsey Scott and early enrollee Lowell Narcisse.

"Danny's the leader clearly right now and will probably end up being the leader. We don't know that," said Orgeron, whose team opens spring practice Saturday. "But I wanted to make it open for Justin, for Lindsey, for Lowell, for Myles [Brennan, a 2017 signee who will arrive at LSU in June]. That's what we told them when we recruited them and we wanted to give them a chance."

Etling, a transfer from Purdue, passed the struggling Brandon Harris on the depth chart in Week 2 last season, leading the Tigers to a 7-3 record as a starter by completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 2,123 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.

When Harris announced plans to transfer this offseason, that left redshirt sophomore McMillan as the Tigers' only backup with any game experience. McMillan appeared in one game last season, completing his only pass attempt in mop-up duty against FCS opponent Jacksonville State. Scott redshirted last season and quarterbacked the Tigers' scout team, while Narcisse and Brennan were both coveted prospects in LSU's 2017 signing class.

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