College Football: LSU holding off on naming starter
BATON ROUGE, La. ó All signs point to Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch starting LSU’s season opener on Saturday against Appalachian State, but head coach Les Miles is not ready to commit to that yet.
“Our quarterbacks ó I have great confidence in all three of them, to be honest with you, and I can’t tell you today who’ll take the field first,” Miles said Monday. “I can tell you I’ll be comfortable with whoever that is.”
Hatch, technically entering his second sophomore season after getting medical redshirt for a shoulder injury last year, is the most experienced quarterback on LSU’s roster ó and he’s only thrown two passes for the Tigers.
His lone appearance came in mop-up duty for LSU during a blowout of Middle Tennessee early last season.
Neither of LSU’s other two quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee and true freshman Jordan Jefferson, has taken a snap in a game.
Miles and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton like what they’ve seen from Jefferson, who has quick feet, throws hard, and seems to have the best all-around athleticism of the three quarterbacks. However, he is not only untested, but also has been practicing with LSU for only a few weeks.
Miles said Hatch and Lee are competing for the majority of snaps. They were with the Tigers during last season’s national championship campaign and shared all the snaps during spring practice.
However, Lee missed practice and LSU’s last preseason scrimmage last week because of back spasms, giving Hatch the inside track to the starting nod.
Miles said Lee’s back is fine now and that he would announce a starter later in the week.
“His back is not an issue at this time,” Miles said. “I would not be surprised if all three (quarterbacks) played at certain times.”
Hatch, who hasn’t played regularly since he was with Harvard’s JV team as a true freshman in 2005, showed no sign of feeling snubbed by not being named the starter yet, even though he took the majority of first-team snaps while Lee was out.
“Whatever the coach thinks is best, we trust Coach Miles completely in our preparation,” Hatch said. “However he’s going to handle it I’m sure will be best for the team, and on an individual basis, I’m just focusing on my job and working hard each day.”
Miles said he isn’t sure if or when he’d name a clear No. 1 quarterback.
LSU’s first three games are at home against non-conference opponents that will come in as underdogs.