Starter Anthony Jennings finished the contest 7-of-14 passing for 120 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions and also ran for 40 yards on seven carries. For the season he’s completing exactly 50 percent of his attempts and has an adjusted QBR of 49.3.
So, despite LSU running off two straight wins versus the SEC East, concern continues to fly in as to whether the Tigers are playing the right guy with a meaty two-game home stretch versus Ole Miss and Alabama up next on the schedule.
“I think any quality plan, even in the short-term, develops the future, and I think that is what is our thought process,” said Miles. “We have to develop the position, if you will, and make sure that we’re preparing to win this game and developing that position as we would go forward. In a snap you just never know who the quarterback is. So we’re doing both, as best we can.”
As for Miles’ level of satisfaction with how said plan is unfolding?
“Both quarterbacks are improving. I think they are enjoying the preparation,” Miles explained. “I’m pleased.”
That doesn’t mean LSU will stop finding ways to tweak how it uses its quarterbacks, primarily Jennings, or how the plays are called with a tougher breed of SEC competition on the opposing sideline.
“Yeah, there are some things that have not made the call list in the last couple of weeks that are being prepared for games,” leveled Miles, “and I think some of those things are a part of the plays that you’re now noticing.”
Miles also knows the specific challenges the Rebels’ defense will bring to Tiger Stadium Saturday night, particularly in the form of a stingy Ole Miss run defense that almost certainly will force LSU to dip more into its air game.
“Anytime you line up against a defense like this, you have to read the play and get to the spot where you throw the football,” noted Miles. “That's how we've prepared him [Jennings] right along. Certainly they're very talented and can present a real problem, but in the same vein the passing attack is a quality one and should take us to the right spots.”
LSU’s tenth-year coach spent some time coming to the defense of Jennings, a sophomore, stating that in his opinion Jennings is “becoming more accurate.”
“I don't know it's so much the accuracy as the decision of where to go with it,” Miles explained of Jennings’ missed attempts. “When you make a quality decision and your feet are set, you make a good throw. If you make a late decision, miss the decision, try to get back to it with an off-rhythm throw, that affects the accuracy of the throw.”
All things considered Miles seems content to keep riding Jennings under center. The rationale may not sync up with what pours in from the outside of the football operations building off Nicholson Drive, but that’s nothing new for Miles or LSU.
In his estimation there are certain things that can’t be measured or quantified that go into the decision.
“He continues to do the things we want him to do more,” Miles concluded on Jennings. “I think he understands the style of throws better. His leadership and those things that are not necessarily his plays allow him to make 10 other players better. That needs to continue."
LSU fans can read other relevant content from Miles' Monday press luncheon below, including an update on the health of middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith and the eligibility status of highly touted freshman defensive tackle Travonte Valentine.