So - I'm gonna take a look at Lee and Jefferson, and throw in a little post-script about Russell Shepard.
COMPARING 2008 JARRETT LEE & 2009 JORDAN JEFFERSON
On the surface, those stats aren't all that different from one another. Jefferson's numbers are slightly better than Lee's in each category. But not significantly better.
But two distinctions leap out when comparing Jefferson and Lee.
The first, and to me the most glaring, is expectations.
- Lee was leading a team that was following the 2007 national championship run. Jefferson is following a 5 loss "disaster" season.
- Lee was following a 5th year senior QB. Jefferson is following Lee's 7 pick-sixes.
So, why the huge increase in sacks? Simple. Lee is a better passing QB. Period. Dot.
It's OK, Rantards of the world. Breathe. Read it again. Ponder it. Because it's true.
Go back and watch game film. Lee is a much more polished passer. Better throwing motion. More accurate. Hits far more receivers in stride. Throws far fewer passes behind receivers. And gets rid of the football quicker. Lee is a better passer than Jordan Jefferson. Jefferson's numbers are slightly better for a couple of reasons. First, Jefferson throws A TON of short passes. Second, Jefferson hasn't had the benefit of a healthy running attack so he's HAD to throw more. And Lee shared time with Hatch for the first few games. After 4 games, Lee had thrown 77 passes to Jefferson's 101.
Lee is also braver than Jefferson. He took more chances last year. He made more great throws. He also overplayed his hand a lot and threw a BUNCH of interceptions, 7 of them returned for touchdowns.
So. What am I saying? I'm saying Jordan Jefferson is having a pretty good sophomore year as a QB. I'm saying at this time last year, Jarrett Lee was having a pretty good freshman year as a QB. Until Florida.
Would Lee be able to lead this LSU team to the same 5-0 record? Obviously, there's absolutely no way to tell. But there's at least a small chance that Lee would have better numbers this year, be more accurate, and have hit Lafell and Toliver in stride more consistently. Or not. We'll probably never know. But if it becomes necessary to know, I hope Lee is ready to grab the reins. Because as crazy as this season seems, it will get crazier if Jefferson gets hurt and Lee returns to 2008 form. Because this next fella isn't ready to take the whole shebang.
So why not have him throw the ball? Seems like Gary Crowton and Les Miles are missing the boat on Shepard's talent. Nah.
When the game is in doubt, Shep doesn't see the field. I think it's pretty clear that Miles and Crowton are giving Shep his touches to get him seasoned, to let him get bloodied a bit. But it's not Shep's time yet. The Tigers have
Still - the first time Shep throws the ball, some defense is going to be very surprised and it could be a very big play.
Perhaps that team will be Florida? Hmmm...