LSU coach Les Miles announced on Wednesday that Jefferson will take the first snap on Friday when the Tigers face Arkansas at 1:30 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised to a national audience as the Tigers look to regain possession of “The Boot”, while also looking to improve their resume for possible bowl destinations.
LSU goes into the game with a 7-4 overall mark, which includes a 3-4 league record. Arkansas stumbled in its bid to become bowl eligible last week, falling to Mississippi State, 31-28. As a result, Arkansas goes into Friday’s game out of bowl contention with a 4-7 record and the Razorbacks, under first-year coach Bobby Petrino, are 1-6 in conference play.
Jefferson, who replaced injured starter Jarrett Lee last week against Ole Miss, responded by connecting on 9-of-20 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown in what was the first significant action of his short career. Jefferson also led the Tigers in rushing against the Rebels with 23 yards.
With Lee still slowed this week with an ankle injury, Jefferson has taken the bulk of the snaps with the first unit and, according to Miles, has shown improvement and command of the team with each practice in what has been a short work week for the Tigers. Lee practiced on Wednesday and will be available in a backup role on Friday.
“I like Jordan Jefferson,” Miles said. “He had a nice week of preparation, and he keeps getting better and better.
“It’s interesting; he’s no longer the second-team quarterback. He’s just really stepped up his attention to detail this week. He throws a better ball and he’s had a good week of preparation.”
Miles said that he likes that mindset of his rookie quarterback and is looking forward to seeing him in action on Friday against the Razorbacks. Jefferson will be the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Tigers since 1995 when Herb Tyler took over as the LSU starter midway through the season.
“He understands (the sense of urgency of the quarterback position),” Miles said. “I think he is a pretty calm competitor. I think he understands what it means to take snaps at quarterback. I look forward to seeing him play.”
Miles said the team has put in a good week of practice and hasn’t shown any signs of suffering from a letdown following last week’s Ole Miss loss.
“I like what I’ve seen this week on the practice field,” Miles said. “We had a short practice today and it’s been a short week, but we’ve gotten a lot done.
“I think we’re all kind of looking forward to getting back on track. I suspect that everybody wants to pull their weight and make a difference. I think it’s important. It’s a short week so we get to turnaround and play quickly with the game being on Friday. We need to play well against a quality opponent.”
Thursday’s schedule has the Tigers celebrating Thanksgiving as a team with a 10:45 meal on campus followed by position meetings at the LSU Football Operations Building. The Tigers depart for Little Rock at 3 p.m.