When LSU coach Les Miles reinstated quarterback Jordan Jefferson on Wednesday night, many wondered how the return of the former starter might affect the psyche of Jarrett Lee, who led the Tigers to a 4-0 start and the top spot in The Associated Press poll.
Miles said he wasn’t at all concerned about Lee, who until this season had had more downs than ups since his rocky season as a redshirt freshman starter in 2008.
“I think he’s very equipped to handle competition,” Miles said. “I don’t think there’s any question that he knows how to compete.”
Earlier in the week, before an East Baton Rouge Parish Grand Jury chose to indict Jefferson on a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony charge, clearing the way for Jefferson’s return, Miles reflected on Lee’s maturation.
“I’ve seen a lot of quarterbacks have great steady growth at the position, and I’ve seen that in Jarrett right on through,” Miles said. “I’ve always said he’s always competed to be the starting quarterback. That’s always been his mindset, and we’ve encouraged that. He keeps developing.
“I think the quarterback coaching change (to Steve Kragthorpe) helped him, not to bemoan the coaching, it’s just getting another voice and input, reconciled some of his views on the throwing game. Again, he was baptized under fire in Tiger Stadium in this conference as a very young player with a team that may not be as talented as the team he’s currently quarterbacking. He’s deserving of the success he’s having, and I’ve enjoyed his improvement.”
Miles said he saw a potential parallel between the current quarterback situation and the one in 2007 when both Matt Flynn and Ryan Perilloux played for the eventual BCS champions.
“It was very obvious to me in the time that we did win the national championship that we needed to have two quality quarterbacks,” Miles said. “I think that’s really an advantage for us as we move forward with the rest of the schedule.”
Death Valley experience
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips knows how to deal with the hostile environment in Tiger Stadium.
He was a player on the 1983 Wildcats team that came into Tiger Stadium and beat LSU 21-13.
“You can expect a loud, hostile crowd,” Phillips said as his team prepared for Saturday?s game in Tiger Stadium. “I can remember coach (Jerry) Claiborne taking us to walk the field, walk the stadium prior to the ‘83 game when we did play there and won.
“Jerry Eisaman, who was the offensive coordinator, brought the offense in the middle of the field and he had won as a player, from Kentucky, and just explaining to us the atmosphere, how the atmosphere would be, how it’s going to be loud, it’s going to be hostile, you’re going to be called every name under the sun except your God-given name.”
Wildcats lineman returns
The Wildcats defensive line will get a boost for this game as senior tackle Mark Crawford returns from a four-game suspension to start the season. Crawford played in 10 games, starting five, last season. He had 4-1/2 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Inaugural ?Pink Game’
The LSU Student Government is sponsoring the first “Pink Game” at LSU on Saturday to support breast cancer awareness.
?On Saturday, LSU students will be operating “Quarters 4 Change,” collecting money at the student gate of Tiger Stadium to benefit Foundation 56, a breast cancer outreach program established by former Tigers standout and current Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bradie James and dedicated to providing access to quality services and resources for breast cancer patients and survivors.
As Oct. 1 kicks off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (www.nbcam.org,) fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game. Inside Tiger Stadium, fans will notice pink ribbons on the LSU football players’ helmets and pink flags being carried by the LSU Colorguard.