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BCS Title Game Observation 6: Don’t Blame Miles For Not Playing Lee Last Night; Blame Him For Benching Him Weeks Ago

As Jordan Jefferson struggled down after down and quarter after quarter last night — without a lot of help from his O-line we might add — viewers everywhere began asking the same question.  From Brent Musburger on television to the MrSEC Twitter feed to Tiger fans across the Bayou, everyone asked the exact same question:

Why not give Jarrett Lee a shot?

Heck, even former Saints quarterback and current New Orleans radio host Bobby Hebert — father of Tiger offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert — wanted to know what the coach was thinking.  Just watch the ridiculous, Little-League-papa-style rant he hurled at Les Miles after the game last night:

A lot of people might have been thinking that, but Hebert was way out of line in voicing it as he did and, as a result, he comes off looking like an ass this morning. 

At any rate, we don’t believe Miles deserves ridicule for not throwing an ice cold Lee into the fray against Bama’s frenzied defense last night.  No.  We instead think Miles deserves ridicule for effectively ending Lee’s season back in Tuscaloosa on November 5th.

Here’s a look at how the two Tiger quarterbacks compared this season.  And remember, Lee stepped in when Miles’ personal favorite Jefferson was arrested just days before LSU’s season opener with Oregon.

Lee Passing
Lee Rushing
Jefferson Passing
Jefferson Rushing
(N) Oregon 40-27 Win
10-22-0, 98 yds, 1 TD
2 for -4 yds, 0 TD
NW State 49-3 Win
9-10-0, 133 yds, 1 TD
1 for -11 yds, 0 TD
@ Miss. State 19-6 Win
21-27-1, 213 yds, 1 TD
1 for -7 yds, 0 TD
@ W. Virginia 47-21 Win
16-28-0, 180 yds, 3 TD
No Carries
Kentucky 35-7 Win
8-21-0, 169 yds, 1 TD
No Carries
No Attempts
4 or 29 yds, 1 TD
Florida 41-11 Win
7-10-0, 154 yds, 1 TD
1 for -8 yds, 0 TD
3-4-0, 61 yds, 1 TD
4 for 7 yds, 0 TD
@ Tennessee 38-7 Win
13-17-0, 138 yds, 3 TD
No Carries
1-3-0, 8 yds, 0 TD
14 for 73 yds, 1 TD
Auburn 45-10 Win
14-20-0, 165 yds, 2 TD
No Carries
2-3-0, 54 yds, 1 TD
4 for 2 yds, 0 TD
@ Alabama 9-6 Win
3-7-2, 24 yds, 0 TD
No Carries
6-10-0, 67 yds, 0 TD
11 for 43 yds, 0 TD
W. Kentucky 42-9 Win
2-4-0, 15 yds, 1 TD
1 for 15 yds, 0 TD 
8-14-0, 168 yds, 1 TD
5 for 20 yds, 0 TD
@ Ole Miss 52-3 Win
1-1-0, 17 yds, 0 TD
No Carries
7-7-0, 88 yds, 1 TD
6 for 26 yds, 0 TD
Arkansas 41-17 Win
No Stats
No Stats
18-29-1, 208 yds, 1 TD
7 for 53 yds, 1 TD
(N) Georgia 42-10 Win
No Stats
No Stats
5-13-0, 30 yds, 1 TD
6 for -5 yds, 0 TD
(N) Alabama 21-0 Loss
No Stats
No Stats
11-17-1, 53 yds, 0 TD
14 for 15 yds, 0 TD

It’s pretty clear that following Lee’s two interception performance against Alabama, Miles began to phase the quarterback out of his offensive gameplan.  Jefferson — who the coach pumped up throughout the spring and the offseason — became the man under center for the Tigers.

Unfortunately for Miles, in hindsight, he probably should have continued to rotate the two players.  Despite Jefferson’s good passer rating — before last night, his 150 rating would have been tops in the SEC — the man is more of a runner than a passer.  Lee is just the opposite.  Considering his passing numbers — 62% completion percentage, 14-3 touchdown/interception ratio — it would have been wise to keep him fresh and ready down the homestretch.  Miles didn’t.  And that might have been the one and only flaw on his 2011 coaching resume.

Jefferson leaves LSU with a lot of wins under his belt.  No wonder Miles likes him.  And perhaps — perhaps — Lee did something behind the scenes that contributed to his disappearance.  But all things being equal, LSU was better with Lee passing and Jefferson running.  When Miles decided to veer from that plan, he sealed his own fate.

And fate came calling last night in the Superdome.

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