At LSU coach Les Miles’ weekly news conference Monday, the topic he was questioned most frequently about was his quarterback situation.
The top-ranked Tigers (7-0 and 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference going into their game against No. 19 Auburn on Saturday in Tiger Stadium) continue to roll and the questions about Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson continue to roll in.
“That’s understandable, but we don’t have a problem with it,” Lee said. “We’re fine with it. We’re winning ball games. We have a goal that we want to get to at the end of the year (the BCS championship). Right now we’re slowly getting there. We’re moving the ball, we’re putting points on the board, and we’re winning football games, and we’re happy with that.”
Jefferson, who lost his starting job to Lee after being suspended following his arrest for a bar fight in August, is indefinitely unavailable for interviews, but those who are talking are getting plenty of questions about the sharing of the duties. Lee remains the starter and plays most of the snaps, but Jefferson has gotten progressively more playing time in the three games in which he has played since being reinstated. Jefferson’s running ability presents opposing defenses with an additional challenge to the one that Lee’s passing presents.
“They expect run (when jefferson enters a game),” wide receiver Russell Shepard said. “If you at it statistically, when Jordan’s in it’s heavy run. But we want them to start doing that because Jordan has a very talented and live arm so if teams do that we’ll just go to our other phase and let him three-step it and sling it.”
Lee is completing 62 percent of his passes for 1,085 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interceptions. Jefferson has thrown just seven passes, completing four for 69 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He has rushed 22 times for 109 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.
“Jarrett Lee continues to do a great job of doing the things we ask him to do,” head coach Les Miles said. “He throws the ball well and manages the game. I enjoy the fact that Jordan Jefferson comes in and certainly his team does. He gives us a different style or change up if you will offensively. We will continue to do that.”
Offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa and quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe have gotten both quarterbacks ready to do different things and share the position.
“There are things that both Jordan and I do differently that maybe the other can’t do and that’s why we’re doing the two-quarterback situation right here,” Lee said. “I think coach Miles and coach Kragthorpe and coach Studrawa are doing a great job of subbing us in when the right time is needed.”
LSU leads the SEC in passing efficiency.
“I’ve still got a lot to improve on, but I’m just trying to manage the game, keep the ball in our hands, and not make mistakes,” said Lee, a fifth-year senior. “I think if I can continue to do that I can continue to be the starter here, but each and every week all of us quarterbacks go out there and prepare as though we’re the starter.”
Jefferson, who’s also a senior, has started 27 games in his career, and the Tigers have won 20 of those games.
“He brings mobility as a runner, but also has the experience of being the starter for games and has the ability to throw the football,” Miles said. “He virtually has the entire playbook on hand when he goes onto the field. The obvious advantage is that he is a little bit more mobile. We ask him to do some of those things.”
Lee, who started his last three seasons in high school in Texas without ever sharing the position, said he’s OK with the two-quarterback approach.
“Whatever helps us win,” he said. “If Jordan needs to come in or whoever needs to come in and make a play that’s what we’re going to do. We’re winning ball games right now. We’re moving the ball. Right now we’re happy with the situation and we just want to continue to win”