Baton Rouge --- Les Miles made no bones about how he felt his returning starter at quarterback looked through the opening leg of the offseason.
“I think Jordan Jefferson has had as fine a coaching session as I've seen,” Miles said. “He's in the best shape that I've seen him in, and I think his attention to detail and his want to be a great quarterback appears to me to be there.”
What is running through the mind of No. 9 as practices and workouts push on? TigerSportsDigest.com caught up with Jefferson for this week’s Q & A.
Q: How have the first two weeks of practice gone?
Jefferson: We have a high intensity in practice; a high tempo. Offensively, we are looking good. We are doing a lot of passing, and we have some young backs doing a great job for us, too. We are just going to keep going forward and having these good practices.
Q: Do you feel any different going into this spring than year’s past?
Jefferson: I only have one more year. That’s the main way I look at it. I have to make the best out of this last year.
Q: What went into your offseason workouts?
Jefferson: I worked harder, and I pushed myself harder. If I want to be recognized as one of the top quarterbacks in the country then this is what I have to do. It started in bowl practices, and two weeks after that bowl game I told myself that I had to push myself harder if I wanted to be part of a championship team. That’s what I am doing right now.
Q: How much did Zach Mettenberger’s arrival – increased competition, essentially – play into your motivation?
Jefferson: I really didn’t feel there would be more competition (with Mettenberger). I felt there was just more competition against myself. I have played here three years, and this will be my fourth, and I haven’t accomplished everything that I want to do. That’s the competition I have. I want to make sure that I set my goals and accomplish them before I leave here.
Q: What is Zach Mettenberger like?
Jefferson: He is a quick learner. He’s doing a great job learning the plays we install each day. He does a great job reading defenses and finding the right guys on his passes. Me and Jarrett (Lee) and coach (Steve) Kragthorpe are going to make sure we keep on helping him out and pushing him harder.
Q: Have you noticed a change in practices under new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe?
Jefferson: There’s a slight difference. He stays on us a lot. Everything isn’t good enough. He gets the best from us. It’s slightly different.
Q: Kragthorpe seems more vocal than former offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. Has that been the case?
Jefferson: Oh yeah. He’s very vocal. He critiques us a lot to make sure we do it perfect.
Q: How much of Kragthorpe’s playbook have you gotten into?
Jefferson: The playbook is still the same as last year. He’s just learning our concepts. Sometimes I am teaching him the plays. We are installing different plays day-by-day, and we are slowly progressing into knowing the full playbook. I appreciate the fact that we don’t have to learn a whole new playbook. It would have been very difficult. He’s learning quickly, and he’s doing a great job of teaching us his version of the playbook. It’s going to be very effective.
Q: How would you describe the change in approach from Crowton to Kragthorpe?
Jefferson: We hadn’t gotten to the end yet, but talking football (Kragthorpe) said he would simplify (the approach) and have different concepts under the same formation. Coach Crowton just had a lot of complex things.
Q: What are the next four months going to be like in terms of developing as a quarterback under a new coordinator?
Jefferson: I’m very excited. Coach Kragthorpe, even though he’s been here a short period of time, has taught me a lot, and I can take that onto the field and help my team get better. I think he’s a great coach and will really help me, and the rest of the quarterbacks, a lot. He’s a good teacher, and that’s what we needed.