Posted by Jerry Hinnen
So why did Les Miles elect to keep Jarrett Lee rooted to the bench during the BCS title game as Jordan Jefferson flailed his way through the flailingest quarterback performance since, well, his performance against Georgia*?
It made little-to-no sense, and like most things in college football that make little-to-no sense, rumors and theories have popped up in the game's wake to explain Miles's decision--most of them claiming that Miles faced a minor player revolt in support of Lee just before kickoff, and responded by throwing his own support behind Jefferson as feverishly as ever.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the BCS title game, Miles addressed those rumors, and predictably squashed them.
"Not at all," Miles said when asked if there was any truth behind the speculation. "We took the field just like we always have. There's never been any issue prior to a game.
"There has never been a player-coach interaction before or after a game that was negative," he added.
Miles instead reiterated his postgame stance that he felt Jefferson's advantage in mobility vs. the Alabama pass rush simply made him the better choice. "We needed someone who could move his feet," Miles said.
Will that be enough to quell the rumors? It's not likely--not when, immobile feet or not, the Tiger offense was crying out for a quarterback who could get the ball downfield and loosen up the Tide front. That quarterback was Lee, especially given how lost Jefferson looked. Given Miles' history as a coach who prefers to juggle quarterbacks over sticking with one guy come hell-or-high-water-or-Alabama's-2011-defense, it's hard not to think some kind of off-field development shaded his thinking in some fashion.
But will we ever truly know for certain one way or the other? That's even less likely.
Miles also addressed several other topics Tuesday:
-- On star quarterback recruit Gunner Kiel's departure for Notre Dame after a previous commitment to LSU: ""There's a guy in the Midwest that's staying close to home. I understand that very much. This recruiting class will still be the style of class that we've had in years past."
-- On whether the ascension of projected 2012 starter Zach Mettenberger might lead to a shift in offensive philosophy: "We'll throw the football more ... We'll have a guy who can scramble, but he'll throw the football for a greater percentage."
-- On Lee's excellent performance (13 of 18, 176 yards, 2 TDs) at a recent All-Star game: "I understand he did well, and I think that's great."
*In retrospect, Jefferson's 5-for-13, 2.3 yards-per-attempt outing against the Bulldogs should have been treated as a much bigger red flag than it was.
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