Sadly, the nation was not allowed to watch Lee last Monday night in the BCS Championship game. LSU Head Coach Les Miles stubbornly refused to play Lee even though the offense was sputtering under starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Jefferson only led the team past the 50 yard line once during the game. The offense made only five first downs and gained 92 yards in the game. Overall, it was a pitiful offensive performance.
Any reasonable head coach would have made a change at quarterback at the beginning of the second half. Unfortunately, despite pleas from thousands of LSU fans in the Superdome, Les Miles obstinately stuck with Jefferson the entire game. The result was a 21-0 drubbing at the hands of Alabama.
Since the game, LSU fans have been quite upset, wondering why Miles refused to make the quarterback change. Rumors have been circulating on the Internet about strife on the team and some confrontation between Lee and Coach Miles. The public may never know the truth, but we do know that fans have lost plenty of respect for Miles in the wake of this disaster.
It is no coincidence that top ranked high school quarterback Gunner Kiel rescinded his commitment to LSU and will attend Notre Dame instead. Although family considerations may have been a factor and proximity to his home in Indiana, Kiel surely had second thoughts about LSU after seeing how Miles treated Lee in the BCS Championship game.
After four years at LSU, the senior Lee deserved much better treatment. This season, he led the team to an 8-0 record after Jordan Jefferson was arrested for his role in a bar fight. Jefferson missed the first four games and saw limited action in the next four. After Lee threw two interceptions in the first game against Alabama, his role was severely diminished and Jefferson was installed as the starter. Lee threw only five more passes the rest of the season, even though Jefferson had problems in the Arkansas and Georgia games and big problems in the BCS Championship game.
By going to Notre Dame, Kiel is opting for a program in need of a quarterback and a head coach who will likely give Kiel a chance to start. At LSU, he would have had to deal with Miles and been relegated to a back-up role for possibly two years.
In the meantime, Jarret Lee will see other action in plenty of all-star games since he posted the highest quarterback rating in the SEC this year. Hopefully, he will be given more of a chance in the NFL than we was given by his head coach. --
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].