Can we put an end to this ridiculous charade already? LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles clearly does not want, nor particularly need to play two quarterbacks. The only reason he has been resigned to doing so is because of the hand he was dealt before the year even started – what with Jordan Jefferson’s untimely preseason incident.
As we all saw in LSU’s 42-9 rout of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday, Jefferson always was and always will be the quarterback of choice for Miles. In that particular outing, Jefferson made his first official start and played 42 of 59 total snaps.
His counterpart Jarrett Lee, on the flip side, only got into the game with about 12 minutes left. He played the last 17 plays – the epitome of garbage time.
Going into the game versus Western Kentucky, Lee had been announced as the supposed pregame starter. When that didn’t end up happening, the natural assumption was that he was replaced by Jefferson as a reprimand for something that had occurred.
According to Miles, however, that was not the case. Rather, he pulled Lee in favor of Jefferson because of “practice performance,” and not any sort of disciplinary action.
So be it.
With the team sitting on a 10-0 record and the BCS title game so clearly within grasp, though, maybe it’s time to stop politicking with the players. Obviously Miles doesn’t want to create any tension in an otherwise harmonious locker room by picking one passer over the other. At the same time, the uncertainty that comes with not knowing who your leader is from week to week grates on an offense’s nerves – and LSU’s offense is no exception.
Look, Lee has been solid in his unexpected role this year – there is no denying that. Up until the Tigers’ win versus the Alabama Crimson Tide, you could easily make the case that he had earned the starting spot. But when he only got 11 snaps to Jefferson’s 47 in that absolutely vital season-making game, the writing was on the wall.
Jefferson isn’t perfect. He’s not a great passer and his more lengthy attempts -- while continuously improving -- still aren’t up to par. He also seems intent on holding on to the ball way too long, as most mobile, evasive quarterbacks tend to do.
At the same time, he does exactly what the LSU offense needs him to do. He can be moderately efficient as he was against Western Kentucky with his eight-of-14, 168 yard showing. He can evade the pass rush. And, most importantly, the players trust him more in crunchtime situations than they do Lee, as has been made clear time after time this season.
On Monday, Miles played the usual games with reporters, building up both quarterbacks’ self-esteems.
"We need both," Miles said. "We'll use both."
LSU certainly doesn’t need both. LSU hopefully won’t use both. And, the quicker everyone realizes that this is true, the less unfortunate tension there will be in the locker room of this year’s probable national champions.