Danny Etling took a chance on LSU, buying into Cam Cameron and Les Miles’ pitch to further his collegiate career in Baton Rouge.
And that’s what makes Cameron and Miles’ firing even harder on Etling.
“I think the best thing that was told to me was, ‘Football is the greatest game in the world, but it’s also the worst business sometimes,’” Etling said Monday. “I think that’s kind of evident by my career and, unfortunately, what happened yesterday."
Etling, like the rest of the Tigers football team, had to come to the sudden realization that two of its leaders weren’t going to be around any longer. Some players acknowledged change could be good, but that doesn’t mean the transition would be easy.
After being benched at Purdue, Etling pondered what he would do next, not knowing if he’d ever play another down of Division I football again. He even considered giving football up all together. Two teams eventually called, Arkansas and LSU, and he took the leap of faith with Cameron and Miles.
“When I visited down here, they talked me into it,” Etling said. “They said, ‘Don’t give up. Just give us one more chance, and you’ll love it here.’”
A little glue fixed Danny Etling’s face.
He said he does love LSU now, but he still feels a sense of loyalty to the men who got him here. He even considers Cameron, who went to same high school as Etling, “a very close friend of mine.” He wouldn’t share what Cameron’s parting message was to him.
“It was all positive things,” Etling only offered.
Though Miles met with the team in an emotional goodbye, Etling didn’t get a chance to personally thank him.
He's trying to not linger on what happened at the end of the Auburn game, and he frequently reiterated he and his teammates must move forward to “salvage” what they can from this season.
LSU (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) will start on its path for a turnaround at 6:30 p.m. Saturday against Missouri (2-2, 0-1 SEC) in Tiger Stadium.
Doing so with interim coach Ed Orgeron should at least help, as he ran the scout team while Etling sat out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. The coaching that Etling received from Orgeron was, naturally, lively.
“A lot of yelling,” a smiling Etling said of his previous interactions with Orgeron. “That’s just how Coach O is, though. He just loves to get you fired up. It was pretty fun. He was always pushing me to be better, and I think he helped a lot with my development last year too.”
On this Monday afternoon, LSU practiced in its indoor football facility.