Some of you may have been delayed in watching the first thing which was like college football of the 2010 season by a softball game or, alternatively, by the pathetically plodding online version of ESPN, ESPN360. Three cheers for you oh mighty "worldwide leader in sports". Luckily, the LSU Sports Radio Network came through with actually live coverage. The rest of the Spring Games which will be televised are listed at the end of the post (some of them may actually be live and on time).
I don't want to overreact here about a glorified practice. Allen Iverson wants to reiterate his fine point about this matter. Having said that, LSU does not have a starting QB. This is not to suggest à la Deonte Thompson that LSU does not have a "real QB". LSU trotted out four roster QBs and a squad QB during its Spring Game today. You can rule out the squad QB and the two Frosh QBs which leaves the two letter winning Junior QBs, Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. Jefferson was the starter in 2009. Lee was the starter for most of 2008. Both were seasons of trepidation around game time for Tiger fans. In 2009, the offense was stagnant for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which was a QB who took more sacks than anyone else in the SEC. The offensive line was admittedly weak so it's not all on Jefferson. Lee's reign in 2008 was record setting. As a Freshman he tied the career pick sixes (7) record of Utah State's Leon Jackson III. Lee, not one to be called gun shy, was not helping himself out by spotting points to the opposing teams. LSU's defense was atrocious under a two-headed monster of coaches who should not have been promoted to co-defensive coordinator after Bo Pelini left for Nebraska. John Chavis vastly improved the defense in his first year last season as defensive coordinator. Getting the offense back on track then is the missing piece of the puzzle for the Tigers in 2010. I'll be damned if Les Miles didn't simply misplace that piece. We've never again seen the Jordan Jefferson who looked great in the 2008 Peach Bowl win against Georgia Tech.
First, the good of the scrimmage part of the Spring "game". Josh Jasper, K. Jasper made all three of his FGs and both of his XPs (some of you remember a time not too long ago when that was a major issue for LSU). In a surprise move right before the half, Les Miles efficiently called timeout with five seconds left. Jasper nailed a 57 yard FG with the wind blowing in his face (this kick was 3 yards longer than the longest kick in Tiger Stadium history). It was the best play of the entire day and should have been the last of the events covered live. The second "half" consisted of situations and Miles called it off a little early when Jefferson threw an INT. The two RBs, Stevan Ridley and Michael Ford, take near first place honors because they looked very good. Their stats (Ford, 19 carries, 139 yards; Ridley 13 carries 104 yards, 1 TD) are inflated because the defense was split up into two squads and was playing "vanilla defense", as Miles called it. Further, two defensive starters didn't play.
The bad and the ugly of today's events: The QB play, the WRs hands--a running theme of Spring practice at LSU in 2010. Neither Jefferson nor Lee looked like a starting QB today. They weren't getting any help on some of their better throws. Jefferson's two best passes were dropped on back to back plays by 2009's Number 1 Dual Threat QB (but yet to throw a pass at LSU) Prospect Russell Shepard. Yeah, now he will be attempting to portray a bigger Dexter McCluster for LSU and is still learning the role. There were three (3) other dropped passes on the day, one was a first down. Beyond that, the QBs looked confused by that same "vanilla defense" that the RBs tore apart. Rumor had it that Lee might be pushing Jefferson for the starting job. Fans couldn't help but cringe when Lee threw a pick six to Craig Loston. Later in the scrimmage, Lee switched teams (as planned by Miles) and threw a TD pass to a player wearing a jersey of the right color. If Lee threw that pick six to try to ensure that he would have a lead when he switched sides, he is a crafty character. If he didn't throw that ball on purpose, you have to still suck it up as a Tiger fan and admit that Lee was the better QB today. Lee finished 10/20 for 114 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT (he was 3/5 for a TD once he switched sides). Jefferson, on the other hand, was 8/23 for 94 yards and an INT. If you are keeping score at home, four of the five QBs referenced earlier threw at least one pass. As a group those QBs were 20/48 for 227 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT--against a "vanilla defense." If it were not for that soft defense which I keep emphasizing, it might not matter much that the stats are terrible. LSU doesn't run an option based offense, so it needs a solid throwing QB to win games. A national audience now knows it doesn't yet have one. Unless something dramatic develops over the summer, LSU will have a starting QB in name only when the Tigers walk into the Georgia Dome to play UNC on September 4.
White won the day 24-9 over the Purple squad. This means White gets a picnic served by the Purple team. I am not even making this up. Les Miles said it this past Thursday. Who knows what happens to the players who played both sides?
Other Spring Games on TV (times Eastern)
Texas Longhorns April 4 FSSW/FCS Central 5 PM
Georgia Bulldogs April 10 CSS Cable/ESPN360 2 PM
North Carolina Tarheels April 10 ESPN 3 PM
Clemson Tigers April 10 CSS Cable/ESPN360 4 PM
Auburn Tigers April 17 ESPNU 2 PM
Ole Miss Rebels April 17 CSS Cable/ESPN360 2 PM
Alabama Crimson Tide April 17 ESPN 3 PM
Penn State Nittany Lions April 24 ESPN2 2 PM
Arkansas Razorbacks April 24 Cox/ESPN360 7 PM