Deserved, But Still Unfortunate
By Paul Myerberg // Sep 26, 2010
You can look at it in one of two ways. One, Jordan Jefferson’s continued ineffectiveness finally led Les Miles to pull the plug on his junior quarterback. I have no problem with this train of logic: Jefferson has not cracked the 100-yard mark in each of L.S.U.’s last three games, throwing for three interceptions without a single touchdown over this span. On the other hand — and bear with me here — you can view his late-game benching as the ultimate scapegoating — the picture of a quarterback taking the blame for the nation’s least impressive offensive coordinator, whose fingerprints are all over the program’s multiple-year incompetence on the offensive side of the ball.
The pair must share the blame — I’m baffled as to how anyone could solely rest L.S.U.’s struggles at Jefferson’s doorstep. Jefferson was given the keys to the offense; the offense turned out to be a lemon, unfortunately, and it’s hard to picture any of L.S.U.’s options under center faring significantly better.
Jarrett Lee’s time might be next, though Les Miles has yet to formally announce a change at quarterback. What other options does he have? Lee has seemingly learned from his freshman mistakes, though we haven’t yet had the opportunity to see his improved game management skills in action.
Then there’s Russell Shepard, the high school quarterback turned all-purpose offensive skill player. Shepard never truly earned the chance to make noise at quarterback; perhaps Miles and Crowton saw in Shepard what they seem to see in Jefferson — a great athlete in need of more fine-tuning than this program can afford.
So here we are, four weeks into the season, and it has come to this: instead of identifying the true culprit, the blame falls upon L.S.U.’s quarterback play. This is wrong. Jefferson isn’t perfect; he’s far from perfect, in fact, and might end a once-promising college career as a second-teamer. On the other hand, the coach pulling the strings, Crowton, is again one step removed from culpability.
He’s bought himself some time with L.S.U.’s potential quarterback change. Miles’s decision to remove Jefferson from last night’s game, even if not permanent, makes a clear statement: it’s not coaching, but the player. It’s almost aggravating, if it wasn’t so typical.
The ship isn’t quite sinking — not just yet — but L.S.U. is taking on water. The defense and special teams have bailed out the offense through four games, but how much longer can that continue? Perhaps there’s a sliver lining to a quarterback change: should the offense continue to falter under Lee’s direction, Miles will finally come to the realization that it’s not the players, but the coordinator leading this offense into a ditch.
Perhaps that’s the silver lining. For now, I don’t question whether Jefferson’s benching was deserved: his play over the last three weeks warranted a wake-up call for the junior. I only question the sanity behind blaming a talented roster when Gary Crowton — somehow made of Teflon, it seems — is the sole constant behind the program’s precipitous offensive slide.
Tags: Gary Crowton, Jarrett Lee, Jordan Jefferson, L.S.U., Les Miles
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