He completed only 8-of-21 passes, although there were another 4-5 drops by receivers. His yardage total was 169, over half of that coming on two completions to Rueben Randle for 37 yards and Odell Beckham for 51.
But Lee wasn’t discouraged by the dip in production and he cleared the air about feeling any added pressure with Jordan Jefferson’s return three days before the game.
Specifically, he shot down any notion that he was troubled by Jefferson’s entrance into the game for the final play of the Tigers’ first touchdown drive of the day – a 1-yard sneak on fourth down.
“It didn’t affect me at all,” Lee said. “He came in and made a play for us and that’s what the coaches wanted. I wasn’t mad or upset at all. We scored and won the ballgame and that’s all the matters to me.”
Part of Lee’s day that looked troublesome was throwing into heavy coverage and delivering the ball high.
He said that was intentional in an effort to give his receivers chances to make plays.
“Our receivers do a great a job of making those plays,” he said. “Sometimes when an opportunity presents itself, you have to put the ball up there and believe in your athletes. There were a couple of times (Saturday) I believed in our athletes and they made the plays.”
Added receiver Russell Shepard, who caught two of those passes from Lee that might qualify as risky, “Receivers like that. It means he has confidence in his receivers to make plays for him.”
Lee has been encouraged to take an occasional 50-50 shot to his receivers. He’s also feeling a bit more emboldened as a senior compared to his rocky redshirt freshman season when he threw 16 interceptions.
“Most of the time, no,” Lee said about if he had the green light to throw risky passes whenever he wanted to. “Most of the times they don’t want those kinds of throws. It’s a trust thing with those guys believing they can make those plays.”
While the coaches might not have reached the point where they total turn the keys over to Lee, there’s no mystery that his relationship with LSU coach Les Miles is stronger now than it was three seasons ago.
Ever since Jefferson’s return, Miles has pointedly repeated that Lee is the Tigers’ starting quarterback and that game plans are built around him and not the notion of a two-quarterback system.
“Yeah, that’s huge,” Lee said. “It’s not something I need to hear, but it is a confidence-booster. I’ve just got to keep working hard and keep letting these guys believe in me and let the coaches believe in me.
“I’ve grown up a lot as a player and as a person and a lot of that Coach Miles has helped me with that. Our relationship has grown a lot.”
Close, but not there yet
Sophomore cornerback Tharold Simon has one interception to his credit this season. He’s also typified the adage that DBs are receivers who can’t catch with several drops and/or missed picks.
“I counted them up, and I think it’s 4-5 I should have by now,” said Simon, who is tied for second on the team with 27 tackles and leads the Tigers with six pass breakups.
“I really should be the leading DB in interceptions in the SEC right now, but I haven’t caught the ball and made the plays when I had a chance. They’re going to come. I’ve been coming out here and working extra to get better at catching the ball.”
So much for first impressions.
After an impressive start to the season, senior tight end DeAngelo Peterson has faded into the background as LSU’s offense has evolved this season.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound New Orleans native snared four passes for 62 yards in the Tigers’ season-opening 40-27 victory against Oregon. Since then? Only four more catches for 33 yards.
“I hope I can start having a bigger role, but it’s up to the coaches,” Peterson said. “We have a lot of players who can step up and do their jobs, a lot of great receivers for our quarterbacks to throw to.”
While Peterson is obviously frustrated by his unwanted disappearing act, he isn’t ready to forfeit his role as a key target in the LSU passing game.
“I still feel like a mismatch for anybody who covers me,” he said.
Randle, who has faced double-teams more often than not this season, said the offense needs Peterson to re-emerge to loosen up defenses for the other receivers.
“Something we have to do on our side is to get him more open and get him more space in the inside so he can work a little bit,” Randle said.
“He’s got it all. He can move for a big guy and he’s very strong. Most linebackers can’t hold him with his speed and most safeties can’t cover him with his strength. It’s something we’re happy to have on our team.”
The Relief-4-Blue fund has been established to assist the family of LSU running back Alfred Blue, who recently suffered a devastating loss when a fire destroyed their home and all of their belongings.
Blue has three younger siblings ranging in ages from 4-15. His grandmother also lived in the home with his mom.
Under NCAA rules, LSU is permitted to accept financial gifts and manage an account to assist the Blue family. Those interested in assisting Alfred Blue and his family can make contributions to the Tiger Athletic Foundation by going to www.lsutaf.org.
Per NCAA rules, all contributions of any kind must go through this fund. Donors need to be aware that financial contributions to this fund are not tax deductible and not eligible for LSU Priority Points.
Blue is coming off his best game as a Tiger, rushing for a team-high 72 yards and a touchdown in LSU’s 35-7 win over Kentucky last week. He ranks third on the team with 148 yards rushing and three touchdowns.