Maybe Les Miles is just taking a shot in the dark. Maybe he wants more depth at the quarterback spot. Maybe the potential of any ex-starting, BCS-level quarterback is too good to pass up. Maybe he’s still not over losing Gunner Kiel (swagger, confidence, and chest be damned).
Or maybe Miles just misses having the ability to rotate quarterbacks.
Over the weekend, former Penn State starter Rob Bolden made an official visit to LSU. According to The New Orleans Times-Picayune (what’s left of it), a source claims Bolden might transfer to Baton Rouge now that the NCAA has declared it open season on the Nittany Lions’ roster. Bolden could join the Tigers without having to sit out this season.
Bolden is a former 4-star prospect who became the first freshman to start a season opener in Happy Valley in 100 years. He went on to make 16 starts total before losing his job.
Down in Baton Rouge, Zach Mettenberger is expected to bring a new downfield passing element to LSU’s offense in 2012. (He himself came to LSU from SEC rival Georgia… via the juco route.) But behind Mettenberger on the depth chart are two redshirt freshman. So having a junior with big-time starting experience fall out of the sky probably isn’t the worst thing that could happen.
We all know Miles’ devotion to Jordan Jefferson. Jarrett Lee — the passing quarterback for the Tigers last season — handled the job admirably while Jefferson dealt with a suspension. The combination of Jefferson’s return and Lee’s struggles at Tuscaloosa gave Miles enough ammo to make the switch at starter. Lee became little more than an afterthought, was given a mop-up snap in the SEC Championship Game, and was completely ignored as Jefferson took his turn struggling against Alabama in the BCS title game.
So might Bolden become a change-of-pace guy in the same way that Jefferson/Lee flip-flopped at times the past couple of years? Not likely.
Below are the combined 2010 and 2011 numbers for Jefferson and Bolden:
|| Comp %
|| Rush Yds
| J. Jefferson
| R. Bolden
As you can see, Jefferson was much more of a running threat while Bolden — a dual-threat QB in high school — was used as more of a traditional passer at Penn State. Now, it must also be pointed out that Jefferson was playing on a better team than Bolden and that fact no doubt aided his overall numbers. Taking that into account and noting that Jefferson’s numbers were from his last two years while Bolden’s came from his first two seasons, it’s easy to see why Miles and the Tigers would have some interest.
If nothing else, Bolden’s start as a passer has been in the ballpark with Jefferson’s finish as a passer. There’s still room for improvement. And he’s got more experience than either of LSU’s current backups.
While many will pooh-pooh this idea — and don’t you hate having an idea pooh-poohed? — we don’t see the problem. Bolden has experience and potential. But he doesn’t appear to be the type of runner at the collegiate level who’s likely to make Miles want to take Mettenberger off the field just for a change of pace.
If that’s the case, win-win.
But if Miles lands Bolden and tries to unleash him as a runner (a la Jefferson), then Tiger fans might once again be left asking, “Why is he in the game right now and not the other guy?”