Splitting snaps

Les Miles said that Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson will both have a piece in the LSU offensive attack going forward.

Like it or not, LSU is back to using two quarterbacks.

Coach Les Miles has been here before, and by this point in the careers of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, both quarterbacks know the drill.

"Both guys understand the situation," Miles said. "Both guys want to be the starter and play all the time. Both guys enjoy their team and are serving and turn to the need of the team and put that in front of their personal wants.

"I think a veteran group is certainly the advantage."

There's been plenty of mixing and matching on the road to becoming veterans. Lee was once the man. Then Jefferson. Over time, both sides of the argument had a valid case for more time.

With both quarterbacks headed into their final year with the program, it was supposed to be Jordan Jefferson's season. Remember, Jefferson was the quarterback that Miles praised for his development time and again during the offseason.

Then came an off-campus altercation on August 19 that involved Jefferson, and all that changed. After Jefferson was eventually suspended from the team, it became Lee's season.

Over the first month of the schedule, Lee did everything that Miles asked – and LSU was 4-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country because of it.

Then came the potential wrench.

In the SEC home opener against Kentucky on Oct. 1, Jefferson was back in the lineup and taking snaps, and he carried the ball four times for 29 yards. More importantly, Jefferson scored the opening touchdown of the game, a sign that Miles wasn't hesitant to mess with the flow of the offense if he saw fit.

After games against Florida and Tennessee, it's evident we can expect more of the same - a likely return to the two-quarterback system that Lee and Jefferson worked in last fall.

"We're going to go just like we've gone," Miles said. "It's going to be our offensive coaches' call and my call, and it's that simple."

Jefferson carried the ball four times against the Gators, but it was his 3-of-4 passing for 61 yards and a touchdown that impressed coaches. It was back to the ground against the Volunteers, with Jefferson rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

"Coach (Miles) does a great job managing it," junior wide receiver Rueben Randle said.

But what if Lee is in rhythm?

Do you bench your hot-hand with the understanding that he could go cold with rest?

That's to be determined.

Jefferson entered the game on LSU's first drive of the second quarter, but when a pair of runs turned into 3rd-and-11, Lee stepped in and delivered as he found Spencer Ware in the flats for a 13-yard touchdown pass that made the score 14-0.

Up 17-7 at halftime, Miles didn't go back to Lee, at least not right away.

Instead, Miles started Jefferson on both of LSU's drives in the third quarter. Both drives resulted in touchdowns.

More than likely, it was a quick glimpse of the quarterback blueprint going forward.

Jefferson was in at quarterback, but Miles wasn't very interested in his arm. Instead, Jefferson's legs and hard running from Spencer Ware chewed up the clock and left Tennessee bleeding.

Jefferson's first drive of the half went for 66 yards on 12 plays and took 7:08 off the clock. His second drive went 99 yards on 16 plays and took 8:55 off the clock.

After a first half that lasted nearly two hours in real time, it was as if Miles snapped his fingers and the third quarter was gone.

"On offense late in the game we ran the football and ate up the time of possession and scored, and that was the game," Miles said.

"I just got a feel and kind of wanted to (play Jefferson). Some of the things he does coming off the goal line we felt gave us an advantage … it started that way, and kind of had his name on it."

Lee came in for the final LSU drive, where he milked 6:08 off the clock on a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive. He finished 10-of-14 passing for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

Rhythm, this time around, didn't seem like something that hinged upon uninterrupted reps under center.

"We've been in this system for a long time now, and we both understand how it needs to be done," Lee said.

When it's working, the game plan gives LSU two senior quarterbacks that bring both facets – the pass and the run - of the offensive attack.

"It's like a nightmare for a defensive coordinator," junior wide receiver Russell Shepard said. "When a (defensive coordinator) comes in and he's looking at this team, you've got two different quarterbacks that bring two totally different elements to the game.

"So when you just add the extra dimension to that position, one defense can't prepare for our team in one week. It kind of helps us out in a way and gives us a little more room to do different things offensively."

But when it's not working, it's just what Shepard called it: A nightmare.

Regardless, Miles is sticking to it.

"I think both guys can do different things, and we like to do that and we will continue to do that," he said.

And at 7-0 and carrying the No. 1 ranking, Lee isn't ready to frown upon any missed snaps - regardless of what view fans have of the situation and how it came to be.

"We're not worried about it at all," Lee said. "It's not a distraction to us. I think it's definitely more on the outside perimeter."


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