Halfway through LSU’s slugfest with Auburn, Lee was sitting second fiddle to Andrew Hatch following an absent-minded interception. Who could have guessed then that he’d not only lead the 26-21 comeback against Auburn or start against Mississippi State, but also project as LSU’s starting signal caller in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka The Swamp?
“It’s been boosting my confidence a lot,” Lee said. “In the week of practice leading up to Mississippi State I felt really comfortable with everything we were doing, and the older guys really backed that up. I had some butterflies going into Mississippi State, but I felt comfortable.”
The situation needs no rehashing. Andrew Hatch suffered a concussion with just minutes gone in the 3rd quarter against Auburn. Lee re-entered the game, led the offense on four scoring drives, and hasn’t looked back. But with two weeks to recover, will Hatch have a say in the starting quarterback spot?
“We still talk every day,” Lee said. “He’s in the meeting room with us every day, and he’s a hard worker. He actually returned to practice with us [September 30th]. The coaches are confident in both of us and we both know this offense really well.”
With Florida looming, Lee appears to be making big strides. As a redshirt freshman, he is averaging 221.5 yards per game since Hatch’s injury. In that time span he has also thrown for four touchdowns and is completing 59 percent of his passes.
On the other hand, two ill-advised interceptions and several blown plays display exactly what one would expect from a freshman starting quarterback in the SEC. At one point against Mississippi State, Lee lost huge yardage and fumbled while being sacked on a blown scramble. It was a play that surely made Tiger fans groan.
“High school kicked back in,” Lee said of the incident. “I was just out there trying to make a play that wasn’t there when I should have thrown it away. [The coaches] tell me every day to be smart and make those right decisions.”
The Texas Connection
Lee has thrown 29 completions for 443 yards since re-entering the Auburn game. And 11 of those completions, along with 192 of those yards have gone to fellow Texan Brandon LaFell.
“He comes to practice every day with a great attitude,” Lee said. “Byrd had a great year last year so I think the defenses are keying on him, and that’s helping [LaFell]. But they both make it really easy for me because they’re great at getting into space.”
It is well-documented that Lee’s alma mater, Brenham High School, has a solid football program. The Cubs have gone deep into the playoffs several times in recent years, and Lee set several records while in school.
Also worth noting is that Brenham is the home of the famous Bluebell Ice Cream Company. In a moment of levity, Lee told reporters that his high school practice fields “smelled like cookies all the time,” as they were so close to Bluebell’s factory.
When reporters suggested he take Herman Johnson home for the holidays to get some ice cream, Lee joked that several LSU players had approached him on the subject.