Though there was considerable hype entering fall camp with the arrival of high school sensation Brian Brohm, the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year in 2003, U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said Monday that LeFors will start the opener against Kentucky this weekend.
"Stefan will start at quarterback for us," Petrino said. "He's done a great job and I wanted to make sure that everything through our camp that the focus was not on our quarterback position. And I think that we were able to accomplish that."
Petrino declined to answer when he made his decison but admitted that he was opened minded throughout pre-season camp about who would start under center for the first game.
"I had an open mind," Petrino admitted. "And I think I do that with every position. We want to put pressure on them in practice to compete and I want them to see the guy behind them is going after their job."
"What I did was say that there would be a competition at the quarterback position," Petrino continued. "They both got about the same amount of reps early in camp and I think it was very competitive."
While LeFors will start the opener against UK, Petrino said Brohm has picked up the offense well enough since practice began earlier this month that he'll see action this Sunday.
"Brian is an extremely talented young man and I told his brother Jeff that he better be as good as advertised," Petrino said jokingly. "And he might be better. He's a special young man and he's been able to pick up the offense and we're planning on getting him in the game [against UK]. How much or when is yet to be determined. But you definitely will see him in the game at some point on Sunday."
Petrino said that LeFors was extremely relieved when told he had won the starting job at quarterback and says his senior's focus this week will be on preparing for the Cardinals first opponent.
"There were times when Stefan put a little pressure on himself during camp and I think he was relieved when I told him he would be the starter," Petrino said. "He needs to get relaxed now and get ready for the game like he did all year last season."
Petrino admitted that experience was a key factor in naming LeFors the starter over Brohm and said he feels comfortable with the Baton Rouge native at the controls of his highly explosive offense.
"Stefan is a calming influence for our team," Petrino said. "He's very confident and plays with a lot of poise and he's done a nice job of leading since I've been here. He's a very accurate passer, always makes good decisions and he understands the offense and distributes the ball to the open man and doesn't try to force things. Basically, you can trust where the ball is going to go any time he's out there."
"Experience helps him a lot," Petrino said. "He's continued to get better and improve at throwing the ball down the field and with some of the checks he has to make when there's protection changes."
"I think the big thing Brian needs is the experience," Petrino continued. "He can make the throws but he threw an interception the other day in a scrimmage. And he threw the interception because of a lack of experience. Those are the things that you worry about when he does go in there. But as far as a freshman goes, he's way ahead of any freshman I've ever been around."
LeFors will be making his 13th consecutive start at quarterback. He was 9-4 as a starter last season, leading U of L to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.