LSU plans to start Danny Etling against Mississippi State — at least that's what coach Les Miles guesses.
And running back Leonard Fournette practiced Wednesday and is "full speed," the coach said Wednesday night. Fournette missed last week's game against Jacksonville State while nursing a significant bruise to the same ankle he sprained in preseason camp.
"Full practice today," Miles said, referring to his star running back. "Had a nice practice. I’d guess (he's) full speed ahead."
Meanwhile, Etling, the junior from Indiana, is set to make his first start in nearly two years and his first at LSU when the No. 20 Tigers (1-1) meet the Bulldogs (1-1) at 6 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
Brandon Harris' reign as LSU's starter — 14 straight games — is at least temporarily over. Miles, for a fourth time in five days, strongly indicated that Etling will start Saturday.
"I would guess Danny would take the first snap," he said Wednesday in a post-practice news conference.
Earlier in the day, Miles told reporters on the Southeastern Conference teleconference that he "can't imagine that Danny Etling would not take the first snaps, but we're going to let the week play out."
Earlier in the week, Miles declined to officially name Etling the starter, and LSU did not publicize a depth chart Monday as it normally does.
The obvious was made clear Wednesday: Etling will start, barring a change in practice Thursday or Friday.
He's practicing with the starting group during drills, and he's looked like "the same guy" who tossed passes for the past year on the second string and scout team, Miles said.
"He just prepares hard and has a nice comfortable throw and does the things that you’re supposed to do," Miles said.
Etling sat out last season via NCAA rules after transferring from Purdue. The game against Jacksonville State was the second for which he was eligible.
"I didn’t expect him to come on and understand it as quickly as he has, but you do recognize how hard he works and his natural abilities," Miles said. "So I guess I’m not surprised."
How was he able to grasp the system so quickly?
"Hard work," the coach said. "Somebody was saying the other day they came down to the weight room to get one of the snacks that is provided, and they saw Danny in the back working with one of the young receivers. It’s just what he does. It’s just how he operates."
Don’t play Danny Etling in Madden.
Etling replaced Harris last week in the win over the Gamecocks, leading the Tigers to three straight touchdown drives and completing 6 of his first 8 passes.
Miles' worry now is keeping Harris engaged.
Miles and his staff "visited" with Harris earlier this week. Harris started the past 14 games for the Tigers, dating to last year's season opener. He struggled in a season-opening loss to Wisconsin and misfired on three of his first four passes against Jacksonville State, prompting boos from the Tiger Stadium crowd.
Harris bolted off the field after the game, nearly beating the referees into the home team tunnel, and he posted a suggestive tweet Tuesday, voicing his displeasure with his situation.
"That's certainly the issue: making sure he knows that this is a team and that his talents and abilities need to be prepared going into the game," Miles said. "I think he understands that. We visited with him. We would think he would understand his role, one in which would allow him to compete from this point forward to start."
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Fournette continues to "get better," Miles said on the SEC teleconference, and he practiced Wednesday in full.
Fournette did not practice last week. Then a game-time decision, he did not dress for the game against JSU.
"We really want to wait until he's 100 percent, and he's really closing in on that right now," the coach said. "We expect that we may have him for Saturday."