Lee looking for redemption at Florida
LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee can go a long way toward shedding
the nickname ”pick six” when the No. 12 Tigers invade the
On the heels of his late-game heroics against Tennessee last
weekend, Lee is expected to see significant action when LSU meets
the 14th-ranked Gators in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday night.
No one has ever doubted the strong-armed Texan’s ability to
throw the ball, and his 47-yard completion down the sideline to
Rueben Randle only further confirmed what Lee is capable of when
makes the right decision about where to go with the ball.
The problem early in his career was making good decisions.
Thrust into a starting role in his freshman year – in part
because Ryan Perrilloux was kicked off the team in the offseason
and in part because of Andrew Hatch’s injury – Lee threw 16
interceptions, seven of which were returned for touchdowns.
That stat has hung over him for much of the past two years.
”You know, I was a young player in 2008. A lot of things didn’t
go my way,” Lee said this week. ”I threw interceptions. They were
returned. But I moved forward from that. I put that behind me. I’m
a new player, a more mature player and I’m just looking forward to
this year and this game this week.”
Last weekend, with starter Jordan Jefferson having struggled to
get the passing game going for weeks, Lee saw his most extensive
action of the season. He threw one interception on a fade pass in
the end zone in the fourth quarter, but redeemed himself on LSU’s
69-yard, 16-play gamewinning drive.
Lee connected with Terrence Toliver on third-and-13, and again
on fourth-and-14, as he marched LSU all the way to the Volunteers’
2-yard line. Jefferson took over from there and LSU (5-0) survived
a now famously wacky finish to emerge with a 16-14 win and remain
”Some of the things that Jarrett does, he does as well as
anyone,” Miles said. ”We need to fix a couple things. He needs
not to make a couple throws, he needs not to throw a pick.”
As fate would have it, just as Lee is coming back into the fold,
he is facing the Gators, who lead the nation with 12 interceptions.
Florida has returned three of those picks for scores.
Lee played in The Swamp in 2008. He was intercepted twice then,
and one was returned 52 yards for a score by Brandon Spikes.
”You’ve got to put those kind of things behind you,” Lee said.
”There are a lot of great quarterbacks that have thrown
interceptions and you can’t worry about that. But also you’ve also
got to keep it in the back of your mind to know that you don’t want
those kinds of things to happen. You don’t want to hurt your team
in that way.”
”Preparation is key during the week and we know Florida’s a
great team, an athletic team and we’ve just got to prepare
Take away the interceptions, and Lee’s 2008 season wasn’t all
that bad, considering he was a freshman in what many regard as the
best conference – and best defensive conference – in college
In 11 games, including eight starts, he threw for 1,873 yards
and 14 TDs. His potential was evident, but he had a lot to learn.
Lee played in only one game last season in a 24-16 victory over
Louisiana Tech. He was an unspectacular 7 of 22 for 105 yards,
including a 38-yard TD to Brandon Lafell – but he was not
Against Tennessee, a game he did not start and in which he had
only about half of the offensive snaps, Lee was 16 of 23 for 185
yards – more yards by himself than LSU had thrown for in any of its
previous four games.
”I’ve been in the system a long time now,” Lee said. ”I’ve
just become a more mature player as far as reads and reading
defenses and things like that. Getting an opportunity last week …
really helped boost my confidence and I just really appreciated the