I’m a little delayed in getting this message out.

The College World Series, my 30th birthday, a tropical storm and many, many other things had me occupied.

Yes, I’m 30 and no, I don’t walk to talk about it. It’s a bit of a sensitive subject for me – especially when I look in the mirror and see that my dark, black locks of hair have been reduced to thin, wiry strands of fuzz.

Enough of my mid-life crisis. It’s July now and baseball is over, which means that the next time we see LSU compete, it will officially be football season.
So there’s no better time to write this troll, which is 100 percent about one of the most important players to the Tigers’ team next season.

Let’s talk about Danny Etling.

Last weekend, I talked to him – at length.

Most collegiate student-athletes are brainwashed and trained to lie to your face and give non-answer answers until reporters get annoyed and quit trying to find truth.

I expected Etling to do the same.

But he didn’t.

He was cordial, open and honest.

In the interview, Etling talked about his back injury, surgery and rehab.
He told me that he was in pain last season – more than anyone ever knew. He said the injury affected his mechanics, which affected his play. He said he was pain-free during games because of adrenaline, but he was sore throughout preparation, which hurt as well.

After the interview, I got a chance to also watch Etling throw a little and I must say – the kid looks sharp – so much so that I’m optimistic about what he might do next season.

Etling was good last season for LSU. He was inserted into mission impossible and he did an OK job.

He wasn’t spectacular, but I’m not sure that any quarterback could have been given the dinosaur offense LSU started with and then a coaching change mid-season.

But he got the job done more times than not and to me, given the injury, I think that’s OK.

He has challengers. Fans will bark and holler for Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse every time something goes wrong throughout the season.

But those guys are 18 – true freshmen.

Etling is older – a fifth-year senior.

I almost always trust a fifth-year senior to lead my team. Especially when it’s a team loaded with talent at other positions and all that’s needed is steady, above-average quarterback play.

Don’t give up on Etling yet.

I haven’t.

He’s healthy now.

He wasn’t in 2016.

I think he will have a very solid year.

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