Spring Analysis: Quarterbacks

All eyes were on the quarterbacks this spring as Gary Crowton was in search of finding someone to lead the offense since Ryan Perrilloux missed all of spring drills. Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee both had their moments during spring practice but the big question that still needs to be answered is can one of them take over the reigns if something should happen to Perrilloux in 2008?

Spring Analysis

 

When we watched Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch play pitch and catch with the receivers in the portions of practice the media was allowed to watch the overwhelming consensus was that Lee was ahead of Hatch in terms of throwing the ball. His passes were more on the mark and he had the stronger arm.

 

Hatch was generally on the mark with his short passes but his deep passes tend to float on him because he doesn’t have real good arm strength.

 

What we didn’t see in practice, though, was how the two quarterbacks fared when they had to deal with a pass rush and they had to make reads. After watching both signal callers in action during the spring game it appears that Hatch is ahead in that department.

 

Hatch looked a little more comfortable and seemed to be a little more relaxed than Lee during the spring game. He looked to be in a little more control of the offense when he went up to the line and although he didn’t see significant time last season the time he did get is a bonus that Lee doesn’t have.

 

Lee showed that he has the tools to make all of the throws and he has a good, live arm but when he was forced to make quick decisions it looked like he was a little hesitant in pulling the trigger.

 

Gary Crowton likes to mix in some running plays with his quarterback and Hatch is better equipped to make something happen when he tucks it under whereas Lee is more of your sit back in the pocket and sling it downfield type.

 

Having to go against the LSU defense is something that will make both of these guys better by the time Aug. 30th rolls around but the Tigers are going to need some better play from the quarterback position than what we saw this spring to be picked to repeat as SEC champions in 2008.

 

Spring Game Performance

 

Andrew Hatch played better than I ever expected in the spring game by completing 13-of-17 for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

 

What really stood out with Hatch’s play is that he was 8-of-10 for 97 yards against the first team defense and tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to Jared Mitchell where he rolled to his left and threw against his body to the back corner of the end zone. Earlier on that same scoring drive, he hooked up with Chris Mitchell for 38 yards down the sideline where he put the ball in nicely on a go route.

 

Hatch did throw an interception but all in all he was in control of the offense and made a few nice plays when things broke down in the pocket. His ability to run is something that fits well in Gary Crowton’s offense but one has to wonder how much running any quarterback will do next year with the depth situation the way it is.

 

There have been plenty of quarterbacks that were successful and led their team to a banner season because they didn’t make a lot of mistakes and let the playmakers around them make the plays.

 

If Hatch is your starter when Appalachian State comes to town to open the season then that is what Crowton and Les Miles will ask him to do.

 

Lee finished 7-of-13 on the day with 181 yards and a couple of touchdown passes but one key stat is he did not throw an interception.

 

Most of Lee’s success was going primarily against the No. 2 defense as he completed 6-of-8  for 171 yards and his two scoring tosses.

 

He connected with Demetrius Byrd for a 57-yard scoring strike and then hit Richard Murphy out of the backfield where he took it to the house from 53 yards out.

 

Lee looked a little unsure of himself when he was dealing with the pressure coming from Tyson Jackson, Ricky Jean-Francois and company but in his defense he may not have to go against a better defensive line in 2008 than the one he faced on Saturday.

 

What’s Next

 

What happens between now and fall camp with the quarterbacks will be critical to LSU’s success in 2008 and much of that may hinge on Ryan Perrilloux.

 

There is no doubt that Perrilloux is the more physically gifted out of LSU’s quarterbacks but can he do the things off the field that he needs to do to be able to lead this team.

 

Missing spring practice will certainly not help Perrilloux’s development on the field but Les Miles is hoping that it will help him mature off the field. He must earn the respect and trust from his teammates over the next four months so that when fall camp starts the focus can be on making the offensive attack as diverse as Crowton likes to run instead of trying to rebuild the trust that the starting signal caller must have from his teammates.

 

If Perrilloux is good to go by the time camp rolls around then the battle will be for the No, 2 spot but if he isn’t then who will be the man to lead the Tigers in their defense of the BCS national championship?

 

There aren’t many throws that Jarrett Lee can’t make but the key to his progression is going to be getting comfortable with being able to execute the playbook and spending a lot of time in the film room with Crowton.

 

Hatch, on the other hand, if he can get stronger and work on getting the ball out quicker then he may get the nod on Aug. 30th because of the little edge in experience that he has.

 

Both quarterbacks will benefit from working with the skill guys this summer in 7-on-7 and passing drills where they will get a better feel for their receivers and get their timing down better but they will also have to contend with Jordan Jefferson from Destrehan (La.).

 

Jefferson is not ready to be thrust into action as a true freshman but he has the attributes that Crowton likes in a quarterback. He has a big-league arm and he is a good straight-ahead runner with legit 4.6 speed.

 

The one thing Jefferson doesn’t have is much experience since he missed half of his junior season with a broken wrist.

 

But, then again, experience isn’t something that any LSU quarterback has much of and that includes Ryan Perrilloux.

 

TSD.com Projected Depth Chart Heading Into Fall Camp

 

Ryan Perrilloux

Andrew Hatch

Jarrett Lee

Jordan Jefferson

T.C. McCartney


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