BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -The bright lights of television cameras reflected in the wateriness of Jarrett Lee's eyes while he talked about his latest misguided passes that led to another crushing loss for No. 15 LSU.
Lee was one of the first players to face a swarm of reporters after the Tigers' 27-21 overtime loss to top-ranked Alabama on Saturday. He remained after all his teammates had left, calmly taking a slew of questions about the mistakes that have cost LSU a chance to defend its national title, or even compete for a Southeastern Conference championship.
``You never want to lose football games, but that's part of football when you sign up for it,'' said Lee, whose four interceptions against the Crimson Tide gave him 14 on the season. ``You've just got to move forward and bounce back.''
Only a redshirt freshman, Lee shows more composure in how he deals with criticism than many pro athletes. LSU (6-3, 3-3 SEC) needed him to show that same type of maturity on the field this season, but that hasn't happened.
``You know, it's a redshirt freshman taking snaps in a damn competitive league,'' LSU head coach Les Miles said. ``He just needs to grow and mature and manage the throws.''
Through the first nine games of his LSU career, including six starts, Lee has thrown for more interceptions than touchdowns (13). His last interception came on a third-down pass into double coverage in overtime, a turnover that allowed Alabama to win by scoring on it's first offensive possession of the extra session.
``The receivers were open all night. It was just a matter of me staying calm and staying poised,'' Lee conceded. ``I feel like parts of the game, the adrenaline, I was getting too excited and just forcing things.''
It wasn't the first time.
Lee has had six interceptions returned for scores, including one by Alabama's Rashad Johnson. Two weeks ago, Lee had two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Georgia linebacker Darryl Gamble. LSU lost that game by 14 points.
With the Alabama game close in the third quarter, Miles was so worried about the potential for disaster with Lee throwing from deep in LSU territory that he called for running plays twice on third-and-long. LSU ended up punting both times.
e game - off the team, leaving LSU without a quarterback who'd taken a meaningful snap.
Lee's ability is obvious at times, but only in spurts.
His lone touchdown pass against Alabama was a 30-yard rainbow that landed in Demetrius Byrd's outstretched arms while the receiver was on a full sprint down the sideline. Lee made several clutch throws during a game-tying drive in the fourth quarter.
``It's all there,'' Lee said. ``We see it in practice every day.''
Other times, Lee looked unsettled by the blitzes unleashed by Alabama coach Nick Saban. Quick throws off of his back foot bounced off the turf short of the intended target. Other throws sailed high over open receivers, one them into the waiting arms of Johnson, who ran it back from mid field for six points.
His last interception in the back of Alabama's end zone resulted from an unnecessary throw. What LSU really needed was a first-down gain of about 6 yards, or at least a chance to kick a field goal.
``He comes back onto the field with the opportunity to win and again it's a throw he does not need to make,'' Miles lamented. ``But his view was, 'I hit this one, we win it.' What a great view. I've just got to coach him some more, love him, support him and make him better.''

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