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Jordan Jefferson was as frustrated by LSU’s BCS play-calling as everyone else

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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First, let's get one thing clear right up front: Jordan Jefferson is not complaining about the play-calling in LSU's zero-point, 91-yard flop against Alabama in the BCS Championship Game. Play-calling is the coaches' job, not the quarterback's, and he didn't exactly execute what Les Miles and offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa dialed up for him.

It's just that, as he told WCNN in Atlanta earlier this week, if he had been calling the plays against Alabama, he would have gone about it entirely differently:

Do you second guess yourself on doing things differently?:
"I think we should've spread them out a little bit more, put the ball in different passing areas, use our talent on the receiving side. We had that in as far as play-calling, we just didn't get to it. It's a learning situation for us, a learning situation for the LSU football team and I definitely expect to see us back in the championship next year."

Is that something you realize during the game but you can't really do anything because you're not calling the plays?:
"Yeah it definitely always comes to mind and it comes to mind to our receivers and tight ends. We have great guys in those areas and sometimes we just wonder why we don't use those guys. But we're not the one calling the plays. We still have to go out and execute what the coaches and coordinators are calling. We can't complain as players, but sometimes we do question that."

Could you change those plays and audible on the field?:
"Only in certain plays and certain formations, not all the time. … If it was any way where I can change it, I probably would've changed some of them."

Jefferson doesn't have as much to say about his three fumbles or the ghastly interception he served up in the third quarter. But he is at least the third outgoing Tiger senior — along with tight end DeAngelo Peterson and fellow quarterback Jarrett Lee — who has openly questioned the Tigers' play-calling in the title game and suggested that whatever the plan was against the Crimson Tide was a stark departure from the plan they'd practiced over the preceding month. Although suggesting there was anything like a "plan" after the first series of the game may be a bit of an exaggeration.

In fact, Jefferson himself is the most obvious symbol — or maybe "product" is the right word — of LSU's incoherence. On one hand, Tiger coaches trusted their embattled quarterback enough to keep him in the game to the bitter end, against every shred of common sense. On the other hand, the play-calling suggested they didn't trust him at all: Besides withholding authority from a senior making his 31st career start to make changes at the line of scrimmage, the glaring failure to challenge Alabama's secondary downfield (or even attempt to) was enough to send Tiger fans over the edge. Jefferson only completed one pass that covered more than 10 yards, and none that covered 20, while the most efficient passer in the SEC stood around on the sideline.

Maybe that's what was so maddening about it, and why fans had to invent rumors about inter-squad dysfunction before the game to explain it: From the outside, it looked like the most passive-aggressive strategy ever conceived. From the inside, it's becoming increasingly clear there was no real strategy at all.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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