BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -Jarrett Lee began living up to his pedigree at the right time for LSU.
The son of a former small college quarterback and high school coach in Texas, Lee looked indecisive and sometimes inaccurate during the fourth-ranked Tigers' first two games.
In the first half of LSU's first big test at Auburn last month, the redshirt freshman hit a low point in his young career when his screen pass was intercepted for a touchdown.
LSU's veterans could see Lee was jittery and his confidence fragile, so they did something about it.
``Some of the older guys came up to me and told me they've got my back and just to stay strong, stay positive and I just loosened up, calmed down and made plays,'' Lee recalled.
Did he ever.
t hadn't won in a decade, rested on a backup who had been 0-for-5 with an interception to that point in the game.
On his first play in relief, Lee drilled a first-down pass to Richard Dickson. Three plays later, Lee hung in the pocket until a split second before getting blasted by an onrushing defender and unloaded a 39-yard heave to Chris Mitchell for a touchdown.
The real Jarrett Lee, the one who threw for nearly 2,400 yards and 28 TDs in his senior season at Brenham High School, had arrived.
He was 11-of-17 passing for 182 yards and two touchdowns during the final 22 minutes, when LSU stormed back to win 26-21. His final TD pass of the game was an 18-yarder to Brandon LaFell with 1:03 left, which ended up being the winning score.
``Going into the second half, I knew the offensive line was blocking, the running backs were running hard, the receivers were getting open,'' Lee recalled. ``It was just a matter of us putting it in their hands.''
Lee started and took all but one snap the following weekend at home in a 34-24 victory over Mississippi State, going 18-of-27 for 261 yards, two TDs and one interception. His 43-yard touchdown to Demetrius Byrd sealed the victory.
For that, he was named the Southeastern Conference freshman of the week. On campus and around Baton Rouge, he started getting a lot more attention.
type attention is there. It's exciting. It's definitely an honor to be in this position.''
The question now is: how long will it last? Hatch is healthy again and coach Les Miles said he intends to revert to a two-quarterback system when LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) plays at No. 11 Florida on Saturday. The Swamp is one of the loudest and most intimidating venues in the SEC, where all the stadiums are loud to begin with. The Gators (4-1, 2-1) will be desperate to avoid a second conference loss.
LSU running back Charles Scott said he doesn't worry about Lee sinking in the Swamp after watching his improvement since the second half at Auburn.
``One thing you can see is he feels more comfortable, the jitters are gone, he's not as nervous,'' Scott said. ``He gets in the huddle like, 'Let's go guys,' and he's taking more control.
``Sometimes a young quarterback doesn't know he can actually take control of a veteran huddle, and all the guys in the huddle are older than him,'' Scott continued. ``He comes in and we're all cool with him and it's just a good mix.''
Lee was not expected to play this much, this soon, until Miles dismissed junior Ryan Perrilloux, the heir apparent to 2007 starter Matt Flynn, last spring. Suddenly, the defending national champions had no quarterbacks on the roster who'd taken a meaningful snap.
hich in my opinion is one of the best defenses in the country, so I knew it was there,'' Lee said. ``It was just a matter of when game-time situations come, being in that atmosphere, just calming down, keeping your head up, staying poised, staying in the pocket and just making plays. In the second half at Auburn, I realized that and just made it happen.''
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