By all accounts, LSU head football coach Les Miles is a player’s coach, the type of guy every player loves to play for. That’s what makes his decision Monday night to completely turn his back on a senior quarterback, who had steadied the ship while Jordan Jefferson was out due to suspension, all the more perplexing.
Jarrett Lee did everything Les Miles asked of him and more during his four years down in The Bayou, and without Lee, LSU would have been nowhere near the BCS title game. He’s the guy who led the Tigers to a huge victory in the opener over then-number three Oregon, the guy who beat three ranked teams – the aforementioned Ducks, Mississippi State and West Virginia – in the first four games while Jefferson was serving his penance. He’s the guy who threw 14 touchdown passes to just one interception before stumbling against the Tide. He’s the one who tossed at least one touchdown pass in the first eight games, the one who ranked first in the SEC in passer efficiency. He’s the guy who never complained when he was first forced to split time with Jefferson and then eventually lost his job to him.
Yet as Alabama’s defense dominated the Tigers from start to finish, suffocating Jefferson and rendering his athleticism and arm strength completely moot, Les Miles didn’t even give Lee a look in the last game he’ll ever suit up in for the Tigers. Despite the fact that Jefferson either wouldn’t or couldn’t even take a shot down the field, despite the fact the LSU offense needed some sort of kick in the ass, Miles still refused to go to the guy who had steered the ship for more than half the season.
Miles didn’t even have the courtesy to put Lee in in the waning moments with the game long decided. In his senior season, his last game, in the Superdome for the BCS Championship game, Jarrett Lee didn’t even see the field for a single snap, despite all he’d done for Miles and LSU the past four years, including this very season.
It makes no sense whatsoever. I don’t understand it, and I never will. I don’t know why Miles did what he did, but I do know that Les Miles did Jarrett Lee dirty Monday night. Personally, I lost a lot of respect for him for that. Jarrett Lee deserved at least a chance to do what Jefferson couldn’t, but he never got that chance.
If you can figure out why, I’d love to know, because to me, the decision was crazy from a football standpoint and disgraceful from a loyalty standpoint.