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Friday, September 25, 2009

MAIL CALL! Flynn was good, not great

BATON ROUGE - In response to the passing efficiency statistical listing of quarterback Jordan Jefferson doing better in the first three starts at the beginning or early in a season than any LSU quarterback since Rohan Davey in 2001, one reader commented that "Matt Flynn is the most capable quarterback out of the bunch."

Wrong. It's amazing how many people think Flynn was so good. Flynn was decent and solid and popular among fans, but sometimes popularlity causess blindness.

Flynn finished the 2007 season No. 64 in the nation with a 125.8 rating in passing efficiency, which is one of the most significant of all statistics because it takes in everything. Flynn was erratic in 2007, but he built up such a following because of his bowl performance against Miami after the 2005 season, because he waited so long to start and because he was a sharp, clean-cut kid who said the right things.

Flynn also helped LSU win a national championship in 2007, which tends to make people remember you fondly.

In reality, Flynn was not great, but he was on a great team. He threw many more interceptions per attempt than did JaMarcus Russell, who finished No. 3 in the nation in passing efficiency in 2006 with a 167.0 rating.

In 2007, Flynn threw 11 interceptions and 21 touchdowns through 359 attempts. That's a touchdown every 17 passes and an interception every 32 passes. In 2006, Russell threw eight interceptions and 28 touchdowns through 342 attempts. That's a touchdown every 12.2 passes and an interception every 42 passes.

Russell threw one intercepton over his last four games as a Tiger, and in 11 of his 13 games in 2007 he threw a total of two interceptions. In nine games in 2007, Russell threw zero interceptions.

Flynn, on the other hand, threw at least one interception in eight of his 12 games in 2007, including five against Alabama and Louisiana Tech in consecutive weeks.

The significant thing about Jefferson's early games as LSU's quarterback is that he has not had a bad game yet. Flynn, for example, completed just 8 of 19 passes for 70 yards with an interception in his third start in 2007 against South Carolina. Jefferson's first three opponents are comparable in ability to the early opponents the other quarterbacks as well. Flynn, like Jefferson, missed his share of open receivers. Richard Dickson was wide open deep over the middle against Tulane in 2007, and Flynn missed him.

Former LSU quarterback Matt Mauck, for example, also had a bad game in his third start of 2002 against The Citadel. He completed just 8 of 18 passes in that game for 90 yards with an interception.

Another reader commented that LSU's offense "unlike the Saban teams" will keep the ball long enough to give the LSU defense a rest.

LSU's offenses under Gary Crowton and Les Miles have been for the most part better than the offenses of Jimbo Fisher, who worked for Nick Saban. Fisher's offenses were great, but Crowton's are a tad better. They have been more explosive, creative and just better. But they do not control the ball any better. Fisher was very good at that and tended to have a better running game. But we're splitting hairs here.

Until next week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a QB ranked # 64 w/ a lower passing efficiency rating but w/ a national championship than a QB ranked # 3 w/ a higher passing efficiency rating but w/o a national championship. Better to be a great manager of the talent around you than just a strong, efficient arm, although I have fond memories of JaMarcus and wish him the best.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a good thing Jefferson is steadily improving at QB. LSU won't win any big games if it depends on 35 combined yards from Scott and Williams.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jefferson may be passing more, if Miles follows through on: 'teams that choose to load the box will have to pay a terrible price.' Don't get mad, Glenbeau, Miles said "load the box". He realizes LSU can only block so many people. Do you?

5:17 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

If Jordan Jefferson is the best Miles could come up with out of all the quarterbacks at his disposal then LSU football is in sorry shape! Jefferson cannot think fast enough and therefore he spends more time on his back than a hooker...at lest Jerrod Lee could throw a football (granted to the wrong team occasionally)but you cannot throw a football if you are spending so much time trying to decide what to do that five guys from the other teams defense is on top of you before you make a decision! Also, when the opponents defensive guys are right on you would it not be better to just go down than to run backwards and lose yards? I have never before seen negative yards gained by a LSU quarterback before tonight!! Finally, if Les Miles wants to be quarterback he should just go on the field and do it, because it seems that he does not trust Jordan Jefferson to do the job...we continue to get delay of game penalities because no one can decide what pay to give Jefferson and of course he cannot think of one on his own. The front four are not much help either, a four year old could get by them. Having vented...I would like to say the Defense is fabulous, great, stupendous,wonderful, etc. They held the gater wonderboys (as the media like to portray them) to 13 points, unfortunately they were unable to score the touchdowns they usually do to win the game...when you do not have an offense you just have to understand you are playing alone...

11:37 PM  

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