LSU's Jefferson headed for a breakout season?

June, 18, 2009
6/18/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

It would be premature to anoint LSU's Jordan Jefferson as the next up-and-coming star quarterback in the SEC.

He's started all of two games.

 
  Crystal LoGiudice/US Presswire
  Jordan Jefferson started two games for the Tigers last season.

But as the Tigers do their best to forget about their nightmarish problems at quarterback a year ago, Jefferson has given everybody on the Bayou hope that he's the guy who can put the sizzle and the consistency back into the offense.

"The thing about Jordan is that he's in control back there," LSU senior running back Charles Scott said this spring after watching Jefferson separate himself from the rest of the pack. "He knows where to go with the ball, and he gets the ball in the hands of the playmakers.

"And when there's a play to be made by him, he makes it ... either with his arm or his legs. He's a whole different quarterback than the young, true freshman we saw last season."

But, hey, that's what experience will do for you.

Jefferson started the last two games a year ago, including the Chick-fil-A Bowl rout of Georgia Tech.

The practice time leading up to the bowl game was invaluable for Jefferson because it was his show. He knew it, and so did the rest of the team.

He responded by hitting the first nine passes in that game and delivered a steady performance in winning Offensive MVP honors.

In the spring -- his first spring practice -- he took another step. And now with voluntary summer workouts going strong, it's Jefferson chance to further solidify his hold on the starting job entering preseason practice.

"Any time you're in the offense over time, things become a little more comfortable," LSU coach Les Miles said.

The 6-foot-4, 209-pound Jefferson is more than just comfortable. He has the kind of versatility offensive coordinator Gary Crowton loves in a quarterback.

While he might not be as dynamic in the open field as freshman quarterback Russell Shepard, Jefferson is fast enough to hurt teams with his scrambling ability.

Crowton will have more flexibility to call plays because defenses will have to respect Jefferson's dual-threat capabilities.

"I gained a lot from last season," said Jefferson, who appeared to be headed for a redshirt year after hurting his shoulder against Mississippi State. "You realize how certain plays work and why they work against certain defenses."

Jefferson has seemed to embrace the competition, too. The fact that the highly touted Shepard was on campus this spring and going through practice only seemed to drive Jefferson that much harder.

"It's all about who works the hardest and who plays the best," Jefferson said. "We all want the same thing, and we all push each other."

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