Blog Entry

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 4:26 pm
 
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No, Les Miles is not responsible for Jordan Jefferson's arrest Friday on felony battery charges. No, we do not believe there is anything Miles could have done to prevent his senior starting quarterback from visiting Shady's bar in the wee hours of the morning of Aug. 18 and -- allegedly -- kicking a man in the head. No, it is not Miles's fault that Jefferson will not start the season opener against Oregon, and may very well never put on an LSU uniform again.

But if Jefferson's absence plays a direct role in the Tigers losing that game against Oregon? If the quarterback position he leaves behind causes LSU to fall short of the SEC championship that has eluded them since 2007? That you can blame Miles for. And you should.

We won't disagree with our colleague Dennis Dodd that LSU doesn't need Jefferson or any other "difference-maker" at quarterback to have a successful season. They don't even need one to win championships. The Tigers hoisted crystal footballs with Matt Mauck under center in 2003 and Matt Flynn in 2007, quarterbacks no one would deny were "serviceable" but that no one mistook for the first coming of Andrew Luck, either.

Here's where Dodd and I differ: he files backup-crowned-new-starter Jarrett Lee into the same "serviceable" vein as Mauck and Flynn. For his career, Lee has thrown just as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns, including tossing a nation-leading 16 in 2008. His career yards-per-attempt mark is a mediocre 6.6 and his career completion percentage an even-worse 53.5 percent, numbers that would have ranked him third-from-last and next-to-last in the SEC last season. If Lee is indeed serviceable, even that will be a huge step up from his career-to-date.

If he isn't? There's the fans' choice, JUCO transfer (and former Georgia Bulldog) Zach Mettenberger, who some thought could have a Cam Newton-like impact for the Tigers. But given that even the entirety of spring practice and the bulk of fall camp wasn't enough for Mettenberger to unseat Lee as second-string -- much less challenge Jefferson as the starter -- it seems unlikely Mettenberger is the savior LSU fans have been hoping for, either.

And the lesson of LSU's past two seasons is that if neither Lee nor Mettenberger are up to serviceability, the Tigers aren't winning an SEC championship. Yes, the LSU defense should be lights-out, but John Chavis's units were already 11th in the nation in scoring defense each of the past two years; they can't get much more lights-out than they already are. But thanks to an offense that finished dead last in the SEC in total offense in 2009 and 11th in 2010, LSU finished a combined five games out of first in the West anyway.

So why has Miles waited so long to find a solution to his team's quarterbacking dilemma? In 2008, Lee so thoroughly submarined the season with his interceptions (and the pick-sixes that still define his career, for most SEC fans) that Jefferson -- a lightly regarded recruit by LSU standards -- was named the starter in November. The only insurance Miles took out against Jefferson's failed development that offseason was the signing Chris Garrett, a previous Mississippi State commitment who disappointed LSU's coaches and has since left the team.

In 2009, Jefferson was actually mildly efficient as a quarterback, but still: worst in the SEC in total offense is worst in the SEC in total offense. Miles responded by signing four-star quarterback Zach Lee out of Texas. Too bad Lee had his sights set elsewhere; he signed a professional baseball contract and never so much as stood on a gameday sideline.

Miles may have finally solved his 2012 quarterback issues with the addition of Mettenberger to the 2011 class, but where this season is concerned, it may be too late. Whether by choice or simple failure, Lee's known mediocrity meant he was gambling the future of his quarterback position -- and arguably his team's title chances -- on the development of Jordan Jefferson and two risky recruits.

Miles is known for riding his luck, of course, and it's still to early to say for certain he's come up snake eyes this time. But we also won't be surprised if this one portion of mismanagement forces his team to walk away from the championship table once again.
Comments

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 26, 2011 8:11 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Weak article...at best.

Weak. 



Since: Aug 26, 2011
Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:54 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Jerry overlooked true freshman Rivers. If the young man is anything like his older brother, the Pro Bowl NFL QB, he will be the best in LSU history. This may be a blessing in disguise.



Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:18 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

1978, good stuff.



Since: May 5, 2008
Posted on: August 26, 2011 5:59 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

5th year senior white QB's have done well at LSU every 4 years or so

2003 Mauch followed Rohan with some good results

2007 Flynn followed JaMarcus with some good results

2011 LEEE...

what do these guys have in common?

1- white
2- 5 the year senior
3- backup to black QB prior years
4- some decent playing experience and games
5- a stable of good RB's
6- BCS tile game in NOLA

now if the next news report out of BR is telling us lee changed his 1st name to MATT

watch out!!!




Since: Aug 26, 2011
Posted on: August 26, 2011 5:27 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

You also happen to have left out the Jarrett Lee was a highly-touted quarterback when he signed - AND he has made positive plays to win key games.

Les Miles HAS recruited and signed some top notch quarterbacks.




Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:49 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

So why has Miles waited so long to find a solution to his team's quarterbacking dilemma? In 2008, Lee so thoroughly submarined the season with his interceptions (and the pick-sixes that still define his career, for most SEC fans) that Jefferson -- a lightly regarded recruit by LSU standards -- was named the starter in November


That is incorrect.  Jefferson was only named the starter after Jarrett Lee sprained his ankle against Ole Miss and could no longer play. Miles is so incredibly stubborn with his loyalty, that in his six seasons as coach, there has NEVER been a change at starting quarterback because of on-field performance.  It has ALWAYS been either injury, graduating, declaring for the NFL draft, being kicked off the team and now a player being arrested:

Jamarcus Russel - Matt Flynn - NFL draft
Matt Flynn - Ryan Perriloux - shoulder injury
Matt Flynn - Andrew Hatch - Graduation and player being kicked off the team
Andrew Hatch - Jarrett Lee - injury:  concussion
Jarrett Lee - Jordan Jefferson - ankle injury
Jordan Jefferson - Jarrett Lee - arrest:  2nd degree battery





Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:47 pm
 

If QBs sink LSU season, Miles should take blame

Mismanagement?  It is not like Miles and his staff were not looking for good QB's this whole time.  Believe it or not, many other schools are also looking for good QB's, and sometimes, the kids prefer to go there.  I guess we should have passed on Zach Lee?  That makes perfect sense.  The kid ended up going at the bottom of the first round of the baseball draft, and LA seriously overpaid him.  They offered him $5 mil at the last moment, and of course he accepted.  Because we had Zach Lee, other QB prospects passed on LSU.  Same thing happened last year; once Mettenberger committed to LSU, the other QB prospects went elsewhere.  As far as Jarrett Lee goes, we will gladly take our chances with him.  His poor numbers are due to him being thrown into the mix way too early.  But, as Miles had just kicked Perrilloux off the team, we were left in a pickle.  Lee was like a deer in the headlights that season, but he was a freshman.  Now, he is a senior and has been around the program for four years.  He was much better last season than he was his freshman year, and I trust that improvement will continue, especially with Kragthrope tutoring him. 


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