|LSU veterans praise growth of young QB Jefferson|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 21 August 2009 09:59|
The approach helps LSU's sophomore quarterback exude a calm, confident air that belies his relative lack of experience.
``You shouldn't be nervous if you know what you're doing,'' Jefferson said after practice this week, when he was reminded that he hasn't even made his first start in 92,400-seat Tiger Stadium yet.
The young signal-caller from the New Orleans suburb of Destrehan demonstrated an ability to learn quickly after being pressed into service as a true freshman in late 2008.
Jefferson got his first start in LSU's final regular-season game, a wild 31-30 loss at Arkansas, in which he passed for a pair of touchdowns, was not intercepted and scrambled for 50 yards.
In his second start, his numbers weren't spectacular, but he was ruthlessly efficient, leading LSU on six scoring drives in a 38-3 trouncing of Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
rs to a 35-3 halftime lead. The strong start helped Jefferson take home the bowl's offensive MVP honors and led kick returner and running back Trindon Holliday to pronounce, ``I think we found ourselves a quarterback.''
Jefferson has only reinforced that notion since.
Working with the first team in April's spring game, he demonstrated pocket poise and pinpoint accuracy while completing 8 of 10 passes during a pair of scoring drives. Since the Tigers reported for fall practice earlier this month, he's continued to impress even veteran teammates such as offensive lineman Ciron Black, who was part of LSU's 2007 national championship squad led by senior quarterback Matt Flynn.
``The kid does not know how good he is,'' Black said, going so far as to place Jefferson in the same conversation as two of the top signal callers in the Southeastern Conference, Florida's Tim Tebow and Mississippi's Jevan Snead.
``People talk about Tebow and people talk about Snead in our conference, but people are going to look at Jordan,'' Black predicted. ``They're going to know what type of quarterback he is before it's all over, said and done.''
At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Jefferson has the height and the arm to be a prototypical, pocket passer. He's also a quick and agile scrambler who is comfortable throwing on a rollout or running the option.
ity to distribute the ball to LSU's wealth of other playmakers, quickly identifying matchups that allow players such as receiver Brandon LaFell or the small but speedy Holliday to exploit their strengths.
Jefferson also takes comfort in knowing that much of the time, all he'll have to do is hand off to Charles Scott, a senior who rushed for 1,174 yards last season. Scott is only part of a running game that could also feature Keiland Williams, Richard Murphy, Holliday and even dynamic freshman Russell Shepard, a backup quarterback who is expected to line up in the single wing or as a running back.
There also appears to be formidable depth at receiver behind LaFell, including Terrance Toliver, Chris Mitchell, highly touted recruit Reuben Randle and tight end Richard Dickson.
Those options give Jefferson the confidence, with fewer than three starts to his name, to promise an offense that is going to ``produce a lot of yards.''
``We've got some skill players and some athletes who are going to be able to move the ball,'' he said.
Jefferson wasn't supposed to be the starter this quickly, but began to move up the depth chart before his freshman season started. First, coach Les Miles dismissed talented quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, whose various troubles off the field had become a distraction.
eason injury, Lee emerged as the starter but struggled with consistency and turnovers, then hurt his ankle in a late-season loss to Ole Miss.
Black described the Jefferson of last year as quiet and bug-eyed as the quarterback tried to absorb a lot of information in a short time.
``It was more of a learning experience, trying to listen to coaches. He wasn't saying anything and it was so tense it was getting to him,'' Black recalled. ``Now he's comfortable. He's sitting in the pocket, making his reads, making his checks. So we're good, man. We're going to be good.''