Blog Entry

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:04 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:05 pm
 

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



Bringing Jordan Jefferson off the bench on Nov. 5 might have won Les Miles his first meeting with Alabama this season. But that same decision might also have lost him the meeting that mattered.

Jefferson's mobility and the option looks he opened up help rescue what had been a flailing offense in Tuscaloosa, with his final option pitch of the night -- a 15-yard gain by Michael Ford -- clinching the win in overtime. It was after that first Alabama game that Miles and the LSU staff went away from 9-0 starter Jarrett Lee and towards Jefferson for good, with Lee attempting just five passes total over the Tigers' final four games. And Jefferson appeared to have repaid that leap of faith, putting together effective showings against Ole Miss and Arkansas.

But Monday in New Orleans, it appeared Jefferson's earlier success against the Tide had been nothing more than purple-and-fool's gold. The same option plays went nowhere when they didn't go backwards. Jefferson was hopeless as a passer anywhere beyond the line-of-scrimmage, completing 11-of-his-17 passes but for a useless 3.1 yards an attempt. His legs rarely helped him against the vicious Tide pass rush, as he finished with 14 carries for 15 yards. And Jefferson capped his night with the game's only interception, a mind-bending on-the-run chest pass to a running back -- Spencer Ware -- who had already turned to block for him. 

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It got so bad that Jefferson was booed by his own fans, in a national title game, in New Orleans. But still, even with the LSU offense looking more likely to put points on the board for the Tide than for their own team, Lee never entered the game. His final game as a collegian ended without his having taken a snap.

"I did feel like I'd get opportunity tonight," Lee said, "and I didn't."

Neither Lee nor the Tiger faithful were the only ones wondering if Miles had Jefferson a longer leash in the Superdome than he'd earned.

"Jarrett didn't get a shot. I felt like maybe he should have," said senior offensive lineman Will Blackwell. "He didn't, but that's not the reason we lost. Jarrett Lee not playing is not the reason we lost.

"Jarrett won nine games for us and we did very well in those nine games. He throws the ball a little bit better than Jordan, but Jordan runs it a little better. It's kind of a pick-your-poison kind of deal. Unfortunately, tonight we picked the wrong one."

Even Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart admitted he's expected to see Lee, saying he was "real shocked" Miles had never gone to the bullpen, before politely adding "They kind of rode the horse that brought them." 

In his postgame press conference, Miles was asked multiple times about his decision to stick with Jefferson -- once by former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current radio host Bobby Hebert, father of LSU lineman T-Bob Hebert, in a rambling and confrontational "question" that has to be read to be believed -- and stated (in his own Milesian style) that he felt Jefferson was better-suite to handle the Tide pass rush.

"We did consider Jarrett Lee," Miles said. " But we felt like with the pass rush that we were getting that we needed a guy that could move the seat and not sustain that pass rush ... As much as I would have liked to have put Jarrett Lee in because the program owes him a lot, he really did a great job for us in the beginning of the year and really throughout his career, I felt like it would be unfair to him with the pass rush ... That was my call."

Certainly the threat of the Tide sack artists was a factor to consider. And Blackwell is right that the Crimson Tide would have won that game if Tom Brady was at the LSU controls. But between LSU's stubborn determination to make the option "work," Miles's refusal to bench Jefferson (even if only to get his head on straight) and the phasing out of Lee over the season's final weeks, it seems fair to ask if the much larger factor was simply that LSU's staff was convinced that Jefferson gave them the best chance to win--no matter the evidence mounting in front of their eyes.

Why would they be so certain? The only logical explanation is because that's how things had worked out for them the first time around, and after weeks of preparation, LSU simply wasn't prepared for them to not work out a second time. In switching to Jefferson in the Game of the Century, Miles won a huge battle. But after Monday, that same choice seems to have helped cost him the national championship war.

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Comments

Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:36 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

In a National Championship game if it ain't working, cut it off and find something that does.  The offensive line was horrible and Jefferson looked lost all game.  What happened at halftime?  They came out the same after half in a funk.  The only thing I would like to know is what's up between Coach Miles and Jarrett Lee?  I think it's a case of a bad attitude and not following a rule or guidelines, maybe making grades?  Something was up because Les Miles would not fall on the sword like that, but probably didn't leap-frog Lee to next year's star out of respect to Lee.  A shame the game wasn't closer because the teams really are.  We won't have this problem next year at quarterback thank goodness.  Tigers get revenge next year!



Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:20 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

as herbstreet pointe out several  times. jefferson didnt run the option correctly. he did not make the cover man come to him, he just threw it out there at the wrong tim and the bama defender easily tackled him. why on earth the mad hatter woukd leave hum out there that long is mystifying. lee could not have done any worse. poor jefferson was a wounded duck.



Since: Oct 16, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:15 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

It's hard to believe Lee would have made a big difference, but Miles still should have put him in.  They had nothing to lose. 




Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:43 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

Coaches sometimes let their ego get in the way of logic. Les Miles was going to forcefeed Jefferson no matter what. How did that work out for you Les? It isnt a crime to admit you need a changing of the guard. It was apparent from the getgo that Jefferson did look like the proverbial deer in the headlights. Newsflash...it wasnt working with him so why not take a chance with Jarrett Lee. Come on it was already bad and maybe it would have gotten worse but we will never know will we? Sometimes it just isnt their night and qbs do need to take a seat and try and get their heads on straight but to keep him in with the miscues, not saying they were all his fault, was poor coaching. Les Miles was quoted as saying he didnt see it coming...which could have been anything Alabama threw at them, was unsettling to say the least. Players look to the coach and if the coach doesnt have a plan or alternate one, what chance do the players have. Stupid penalties didnt help but I could not for the live of me understand why they kept running up the middle. Never worked. Try something else. It might not work either but you already know that wasnt. Lou Holtz was asked about coaching a game like this and he said halftime is for adjustments. Maybe they wouldnt have worked out either but you have to do something DIFFERENT. Ask Brian Kelley how sticking with the chosen one worked out for him and Notre Dame. Alabama was impressive and LSU was totally humiliated. Team of the century. Please. Not even close.



Since: Jun 15, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:37 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

Jefferson had that "deer in the headlights" look again!!!  Certainly didn't look like a Senior who had played in many big games.  You couldn't have "thrown the game" Jefferson and looked any worse.  Pathetic.  And to Miles, you lost a lot of goodwill from the undefeated regular season!!  Boring play calling, no vision!!  Out coached to the max.  DISAPPOINTING, EMBARRASSING and UGLY!!



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:30 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

C'mon Jerry...Tom Brady would shred Alabama.  I was enjoying your article until you put up that nonsense
Sorry Jerry, I re-read your article and I see it was an idiot LSU player who said that.  My bad.



Since: Apr 3, 2007
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:17 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

"Jarrett didn't get a shot. I felt like maybe he should have," said senior offensive lineman Will Blackwell. "He didn't, but that's not the reason we lost. Jarrett Lee not playing is not the reason we lost.
Actually Will, as someone who watched the game, Jarrett Lee not playing is exactly the reason you lost, because it meant Jefferson was playing.



Since: Feb 10, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:21 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees- Other conferences have produced better quarterbacks than the SEC.



Since: Aug 14, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:12 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

Yup, grats Tide. Thrilling overall season. You deserve it.

Wahoowa! GO Hoos!



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:04 am
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

C'mon Jerry...Tom Brady would shred Alabama.  I was enjoying your article until you put up that nonsense.  LSU dropped the ball.  Congrats Bama fans.  Go Ducks!


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