LSU’s Ridley wants to see QBs step up after bye

Stevan Ridley wants to see the 12th-ranked Tigers get more help

from at least one of their two quarterbacks as they make a final

push to get back into the Southeastern Conference Western Division

race.

”Neither quarterback has stepped up and taken a leadership role

with his performance,” Ridley, who is LSU’s leading rusher, said

of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. ”Both are playing hard. It’s

hard to be perfect. It’s frustrating, but what can you do.”

LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) has been good on the ground, averaging 179.1

yards per game. Ridley has rushed for 723 yards.

The passing game, however, is averaging an anemic 138.8 yards.

Jefferson has been the better scrambler and Lee the better passer,

but neither have been consistently productive.

”Until one separates from the other one, we’re just going to be

rolling with two quarterbacks. That’s who we are right now. What

can we do? You can’t say ‘The hell with it.’ You can’t bring in new

guys. We’re just going to keep pushing.”

The Tigers acknowledged they took their 24-17 loss at Auburn

last week pretty hard, and that after eight straight weeks of

drama-filled football, they were ready for week off before

regrouping for a visit by No. 6 Alabama (7-1, 4-1) on Nov. 6.

”The off week is coming at a good time,” senior left tackle

Joseph Barksdale said. ”Every break comes at a good time for your

body. I need the off week first to get the loss out of my head. – I

hate losing. The whole week has been bad for me because I hate

losing.”

LSU opened with seven straight victories, two of which came down

to the final seconds. But the Tigers could not pull off the upset

at Auburn, in part because they continued a season-long trend of

struggling on offense. If not for a 39-yard touchdown on a halfback

pass from Spencer Ware to Rueben Randle, LSU would have barely

gained 200 yards the entire game.

Meanwhile, the LSU defense, a strength of the team all season,

had no answer for the Auburn running game. Quarterback Cam Newton

rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, Auburn gained 440

yards on the ground. The game-winning touchdown came on a 70-yard

run by Onterio McCalebb.

The loss means LSU is no longer in control of its own destiny in

the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division race. Alabama also

has one league loss, so the loser of the Alabama-LSU game will slip

out of the top two in the SEC West.

”Alabama is coming in here and they are not going to be feeling

sorry for us,” Ridley said. ”It’s kind of tough right now.

Everybody is down.

”But, we’ll be ready to go. We’re not going to sulk. There will

be two great football teams going at it. It’s my role as a leader

to keep everybody in the right direction.”

Barksdale believes that the entire offense has underachieved

during the first eight weeks of the regular season. He is not happy

with the results.

”I’m upset because I know how good this team is,” Barksdale

said. ”It’s like a teacher who has a smart kid. If that kid

doesn’t perform up to his level, the teacher is upset. If you lose

a game, you have to get better. We have two weeks, a lot of time to

rehab some of those things. We have to get better.”