Position coach: Steve Kragthorpe
Starters returning: 0
Lettermen returning: 2
12 Jarrett Lee (6-2, 206, Sr.)
OFF THE BENCH
8 Zach Mettenberger (6-5, 222, RS So.)
16 Stephen Rivers (6-7, 212, Fr.)
15 Jerrard Randall (6-1, 180, Fr.)
Out of action: 9 Jordan Jefferson (6-5, 223, Sr.), suspended indefinitely
Veteran difference-maker: Jarrett Lee
Rising star: Sophomore Zach Mettenberger
Something to chew on: LSU’s 2,023 passing yards in 2010 were its fewest since 2002 (1,990) and the nine touchdown passes by quarterbacks (Spencer Ware threw one), were the Tigers’ fewest since 1996 (8).
Numbers of note: Lee threw 16 interceptions in 269 attempts in 1998, but has been picked off only twice in his last 131 throws.
This unit will shine if: Lee shows the kind of maturity he flashed in three SEC games last season when he keyed a pair of fourth-quarter rallies that led to Tigers’ wins and later sealed a victory against Alabama with a third-down conversion throw to Rueben Randle in the fourth quarter. LSU needs Lee’s TD-to-interception ratio to stay at 2-to-1 or better.
This unit will struggle if: Defenses are able to force Lee into bad decisions and he reverts to his 2008 form, forcing Les Miles to try an untested Mettenberger sooner than he’s ready. And if Lee is playing well and gets injured, the results could be devastating if Mettenberger isn’t ready.
Prediction: Lee will be a steadier leader of the offense than he was as a redshirt freshman and will show his maturity both as a team leader and a more effective quarterback. The fifth-year senior won’t be as flappable by mistakes and turnovers as he was in 2008.
Quotable: “I think it’s obvious that he’s a great teammate. That’s part of the package. He had an overwhelming vote for the offensive side (as a game captain). I think the team has a lot of confidence in him.” – Les Miles on Lee