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Friday, November 13, 2009

Why Not Start Shepard at QB?

BATON ROUGE - Sorry, I have not blogged in a while, but I got a stomach flu early this week. The doctor said that is going around and I caught it from another person, but I'm convinced I got it from overexposure to SEC officiating - the laughing stock of the country - and LSU's offense - the most poorly drilled offense in the country.

LSU's offense, which by the way is ranked 103rd in the nation and No. 1 in poorest use of talent, begs the following question. How many false-start penalties would it have if it didn't have so many pre-start penalties?


And how many LSU tight ends does it take to line up in one space? Common sense says one. LSU says two.

Interestingly, LSU's offense is still so skill talented and capable of amazing things. Things such as having too many men on the field after a timeout.

Here's another one. On a third quarter drive, LSU called more timeouts (2) than it gained yards (0) on three plays of that drive.

Apparently, I'm not the only one nauseated. Former LSU nose guard Greg Bowser, who is the best analyst on television not doing live football, said during the second half of the CST replay of the LSU-Alabama game that the main difference in the game since halftime was one thing - the sideline. Alabama's was working, and LSU's wasn't.

At any rate, on to today's topic.

LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson would likely start and play Saturday if the Tigers were not playing a 24-point underdog like 3-6 Louisiana Tech. Jefferson hurt his ankle in the loss to Alabama last Saturday on one of the 24 sacks he has suffered this season. He was on crutches part of the time early in the week before returning to practice on Wednesday. Some say Jefferson holds the ball too long. Maybe he's just choosing which defensive end he's going to get creamed by.

LSU should be able to handle Tech, which does not have the same firepower passing game that Troy had the week after an emotional LSU loss to Alabama a year ago. LSU's defense is also twice as good as the outfit of last season. LSU should be able to run well against Tech provided its coaches can get the plays to their players before two seconds remain on the play clock. So, it would be wise to sit Jefferson out and get him absolutely ready for next week's game at Ole Miss, which is very capable of beating LSU. Rebels' coach Houston Nutt has won his last two against LSU with less talent.

So, word is Jarrett Lee will likely start against Tech. I saw enough of Lee last season and more than enough last week. LSU should give Russell Shepard the chance he deserves. LSU should start Shepard at quarterback Saturday. He can't be any worse than Lee, who got more and more nervous and tentative as the game went on last week. The officials had to pick up a pass interference call against Alabama because Lee's subsequent pass was so uncatchable. He threw one interception and could have thrown two more. He struggled with the play clock and play calling management, which qualifies him for a job on LSU's offensive staff, not quarterback.

But Lee's biggest problem is he cannot run well, and with the way LSU's offensive line has performed this season, that is a prerequisite.

Shepard can run and gain yards whether there is blocking or not. And this would be the opportunity to let him pass some, too.

Shepard has struggled to learn LSU's playbook, but in college football that is the coaches' responsibility. If he is struggling, just teach him a handful of plays. LSU hasn't got past the first two pages of its playbook in most games this season anyway. How about just a few plays this week, coaches? And here's another hint. It's better to call plays than timeouts.
LSU's coaches have had all spring, all August and all season to get Shepard ready. And this week, they had more time than usual with Jefferson out. Hope they didn't waste it trying to get Lee ready. They tried that last season and it didn't work.
Lee is a great kid and has showed toughness in sticking around. But how many chances does he get? It's somebody else's turn. That should be Shepard with some series by Lee in between for good measure.
And remember if 11 players are on the field and another runs on with nobody coming out, then you have 12 players on the field.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are assuming that Les Miles, is a normal football coach...That giving time,the LSU coaching staff, is working with Sheppard, to QB LSU.
Miles is a crazy,person who is prating to be a football coach.
Michigan or Notra Dame hopefully, try to lure Miles away from LSU.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LSU's offense and SEC officiating are indeed nauseating. The officiating may be more nauseating, but it's a close race.
Memo to Jefferson: hold the ball too long against Ole Miss [or Ark.], and you'll be watching from the sidelines with a reinjured ankle.
Memo to O line: don't give Jefferson more time, and you'll be watching him on the sidelines and wishing that Lee was not in the huddle.
I guess Shepard did not start against La. Tech because: 1. the coaches have less confidence in his passing than in Lee's, and 2. they thought Lee needed some game experience this year in case Jefferson is not ready for Ole Miss.

5:24 AM  

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