Jefferson's back, but Lee's still the starter
September, 29, 2011
By Chris Low | ESPN.com
Now that Jordan Jefferson is back, LSU coach Les Miles says there won't be a quarterback controversy.
For now, anyway.
Miles said on his radio show Wednesday night that Jarrett Lee would remain the Tigers' starting quarterback even though Jefferson has been reinstated to the team after the felony second-degree battery charge against him was reduced to a misdemeanor by a grand jury.
Jefferson, who was accused of kicking a man in the face during an August bar fight, testified before the East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury on Wednesday. Jefferson is now charged with simple battery. Jefferson's LSU teammate, linebacker Josh Johns, had his charge dropped.
Jefferson and Johns are expected to return to practice on Thursday, and Miles suggested that Jefferson would have a role this season. But what's not going to happen is Jefferson stepping right back in as the starter after Lee has led the Tigers' to a 4-0 record and No. 1 ranking.
"[Lee] has been our starter for four weeks, and I told him [Wednesday] he will be our starter going forward," Miles said. "It would be inappropriate for me not to recognize the position that we're in now, currently, the things that he's done, and the things that we've continued to do with him at quarterback."
But with Jefferson's running ability and his ability to break down defenses with his legs, Miles said the Tigers would look for opportunities to use him, although it's unlikely he would play this Saturday against Kentucky. Jefferson hasn't been able to practice during his suspension, making you wonder what kind of football shape he's in.
The best news for the Tigers is that Lee and Jefferson are both seniors and both very highly respected by their teammates. They're both team guys, too, and understand that the way they handle this situation will set the tone for the rest of the team.
Eventually, LSU's probably going to need both of them to get through this season unscathed.