Randy's ramblings: QB shift, O-Bryant and Mo

Miles' shuffle under center is a head-scratcher, it's time to see what O'Bryant can do as a starter and Claiborne deserves to be on every defensive player watch list

End-of-the-week ramblings as a long 6-hour road trip awaits…


--- As much as I’m prone to let things play out for LSU in regard to the quarterback situation, I have to admit … I’m confused.


I understand Les Miles has to do what he thinks gives the Tigers the best chance to win. I understand there’s sense of unfailing loyalty within that man that is admirable. I understand Jarrett Lee’s two interceptions were ugly. Really ugly.


But I don’t understand the notion of sending Lee back to quarterback purgatory – if that is, in fact, what Miles has chosen to do. Remember, for all we know, No. 12 may trot onto the field when LSU gets the ball the first time Saturday against Ole Miss and all this handwringing will have been in vain.


So for now I’ll base my opinion solely on last week. It baffled me.


Starting Jordan Jefferson as a reward for how he performed against Alabama, sure, I get that. Letting him get the majority of snaps against a beatable opponent makes perfect sense, too.


Sitting Lee until garbage time is hard to decipher. There have been rumblings of an academic problem for Lee, which would make sense on one hand. But as a fifth-year senior, his academic schedule shouldn’t be all that strenuous, either.


I have no clue whether Lee will get a shot again this season, nor can I predict what the impact of handing the keys back over to Jefferson full time will be. As good as the Tigers’ defense and special teams are, there might not be a hiccup at all.


More likely, though, I have a gut feeling that there will be a game or a series – heck maybe even one play – when Lee will have to play a big role in an LSU win.


And when that pivotal moment arrives, I hope Miles is as ready to rely on Lee again as the kid was ready to jump in at a moment’s notice when Jefferson ran into trouble off the field.


--- After three LSU basketball games – only one witnessed in person – one thing is pretty clear to me.


Looks like it's time for Johnny O'Bryant to join the starting lineup

Freshman Johnny O’Bryant is ready to jump into the starting lineup right now, and for the Tigers to establish any kind of personality, I think Trent Johnson has to get that experiment going right now.


From my days as the beat guy on LSU basketball from 2004-08, one of the biggest mistakes I thought John Brady made was wasting a redshirt season on Tyrus Thomas in 2004-05.


After he worked through a neck ailment, Thomas was ready to go by the SEC season and would’ve made a major difference on a good team – as much as he helped the Tigers become a great team the following season.


If/when O’Bryant moves into the starting lineup, who does he displace? That’s a little trickier and might depend on the opponent and style of play.


It wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world to shift Andre Stringer to a sixth-man role and let him come off the bench firing away, a la Vinny Johnson from the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys era. I could also see either Storm Warren or Justin Hamilton coming off the bench – again depending on the matchup – to make room for O’Bryant.



 It also seems like John Isaac isn’t that far behind joining O’Bryant and Anthony Hickey as freshmen in the starting unit.


--- Back to football, my Heisman Trophy candidate list this week includes many of the same names: Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State, Landry Jones from OU, Andrew Luck from Stanford, Kellen Moore from Boise State and Trent Richardson of Alabama.


Getting close to when I have to cast my vote, so I guess I should start honing in. Richardson will be one of my three. It’s hard to not list at least one of the Oklahoma State cats, but which one? Or both?


I vote on a couple of other national awards, but am not involved on as many defensive award selections as I’d like to be. If I were, I’d have no problem promoting LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne for as many honors as he can get.


I’ve mentioned it before and stand by it: Nobody is more valuable to the Tigers than Claiborne for not only what he brings as a cover corner but also a quiet leadership. In eight season covering LSU football, he is, without question, the best and most complete DB I’ve seen.


--- Got a tweet from an ESPN college football writer/editor today asking for feedback on SEC Coach of the Year. The gist of the tweet was that Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino is poised to be the runaway winner.


Really? To me it’s a two-man race between LSU’s Les Miles and Georgia’s Mark Richt. Both have prepared their teams well and have managed a ton of off-the-field distraction stuff as well as it could be handled.


Kansas State's Bill Snyder and Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy could be Les Miles' strongest competition for National Coach of the Year.

Beyond that, Miles is the frontrunner in the SEC and nationally – maybe with Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy in the hunt, along with Bill Snyder of Kansas State – in my mind because of what his team lost on the defensive side of the ball and how well the offense had adjusted to losing a two-year starting quarterback.


Of course, if reinserting Jefferson winds up costing the Tigers … well, we’re right back where we started to ramble, now, aren’t we.

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