Many questions about BCS title gamePublished 12:01am Sunday, January 15, 2012
It’s almost a week after the BCS National Championship Game, and on LSU’s side of things, there’s certainly been plenty of blame tossed around.
So who’s at fault? Well, if you ask LSU fans, the blame is centered around quarterback Jordan Jefferson and head coach Les Miles.
First, both Jefferson and Miles certainly deserve some criticism for what happened Monday night. Jefferson was 11-for-17 in passing with 53 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception, and only rushed for 15 yards.
Miles, meanwhile, had a game plan for Alabama that was, at best, questionable. LSU was unable to get any kind of ground game going, and the coaching staff seemed unable to come up with any kinds of adjustments to compensate. There were no misdirection plays, not many shots downfield, not a whole lot of anything really.
When your team fails to cross the 50-yard line until midway through the fourth quarter, you know it’s been a rough night. But despite all of the problems LSU had offensively, there’s one move fans were calling for that I don’t understand — wanting quarterback Jarrett Lee to come in.
Is Lee a superior passer to Jefferson? No doubt. But he’s also got the mobility of molasses on a winter morning, and the way Alabama’s defensive line was blowing up LSU’s offensive line, that’s not a good combination.
Furthermore, let’s look at Lee’s numbers against Alabama. In his career against the Tide, he’s 24 of 58 with 316 yards, one touchdown and seven interceptions. That’s a 41 percent completion rate, and 181 of those 316 yards came in 2008, a game in which he also threw four interceptions.
But it gets worse. The reason Jefferson started the championship game in the first place was because of Lee’s performance this season against — drumroll — Alabama. He was 3-for-7 with 24 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions against the Tide in game one.
LSU fans say he would have gotten rid of the ball quicker than Jefferson did. I know this much, he would have had to, given how Alabama’s defensive line abused the Tigers in the trenches all night long. And that’s really where this game was lost, in the trenches.
The LSU offensive line could not create anything resembling a running game to take pressure off of Jefferson. Unlike game one, Alabama had little difficulty with the option. The LSU offensive line gets a big fat “F” and, had he come in, I suspect Lee would have been nothing more than a sitting duck.
In regards to the quarterback position, the question fans need to be asking Miles is not why Lee didn’t play, but why, in year seven of his tenure in Baton Rogue, were Jefferson and Lee your two best options to begin with?
In a game like Alabama versus LSU, where both teams will probably limit each other’s running game, two things are needed: an offensive line that can pass protect and a quarterback that can make things happen.
Alabama had both. LSU had neither.
Where was Zach Mettenberger all season? If he’s as good as people claim, why didn’t he get playing time? You don’t sign junior college players to redshirt them.
LSU will find out next season if Mettenberger is the answer. In the meantime, if LSU makes it back to the national title game, fans better hope the Tigers’ offensive line doesn’t lay an egg again in the biggest game of their lives.
Michael Kerekes is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.