Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ole Miss/LSU: Where Quarterbacking Becomes Mediocre or Worse

As I was daydreaming yesterday of a bewildered Jarrett Lee throwing multiple interceptions to Ole Miss defensive backs and passes into the ground on Saturday, the news came from Baton Rouge that Jordan Jefferson would get the start for LSU on Saturday. Part of me was disappointed because whenever you can watch a quarterback as bad as Lee put on a show, it's exciting on two fronts. One, your team's chances of winning take a dramatic jump. And two, watching suckitude of that level gets to be really funny (as long as you're not related to him or support LSU) after about three possessions. But, there was another part of me that was mildly excited because I know that Jefferson isn't very good either. In fact, just about everyone who has played quarterback in this series hasn't been very good.

So that got me thinking. Just how bad has the quarterbacking been for both teams in the series that goes back to some date when offensive linemen weighed as much as a 13-year old does in 2009. I decided to go back to 1992, when the 12 team SEC was formed (mainly because I started going to Ole Miss games around this date and I didn't want to do something like 103 hours of research looking up stats), and find out just how bad it's been since then. It's been bad enough that the yardage leader for Ole Miss in this series is, gulp, ROMARO MILLER. Yes, the same deer-in-the-headlights Romaro Miller that for some reason played over Eli Manning in 2000.

Anyway, let's drink in the carnage. Starting with LSU and from oldest to most recent (record in parenthesis)...


Jamie Howard (1-2)
37-92, 509 yards, 3 TD, 4 INT
I think it's also important to note the 40% completion rate for the man who once threw five interceptions in a single quarter against Auburn. Had Jordan Jefferson not come along, this is who Jarrett Lee was to be.

Herb Tyler (2-2)

62-105, 753 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Mostly thanks to playing for four years, Tyler was able to put up some decent stats. But, divide those numbers by four and you have a very blah quarterback.

Josh Booty (1-1)
38-68, 546 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT
While not great, Booty did achieve solid mediocrity in his two years against Ole Miss. And like all solidly mediocre things, he lost just as many as he won.

Rohan Davey (0-1)
9-23, 183 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
And this is the same quarterback that took them to the SEC Championship game after Ole Miss collapsed from 6-1 to 7-4.

Marcus Randall (2-0)
15-25, 194 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Although he didn't start two games, he did play in two. And one of his wins can be credited to Tremaine Turner catching the ball with his helmet instead of his hands, which resulted in a game-ending interception on the goal line. Not that I'm still bitter.

Matt Mauck (1-0)
16-28, 189 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
If the Ole Miss secondary had hands instead of hooks, that interception number would have been at six. If you can remember that '03 game, Mauck was awful, yet LSU found a way to win (thanks Lou Groza winner).

JaMarcus Russell (3-0)
39-77, 431 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT
I think Russell benefited from the last year of David Cutcliffe and two years of the illustrious Ed Orgeron era. While not great, all he had to do was not screw things up against those crappy teams.

Matt Flynn (1-0)

19-29, 229, 1 TD, 0 INT
That one touchdown was in mop-up duty in LSU's 40-7 smashing of Ole Miss in 2005. Apparently, he also started in 2007, of which I have no memory. All I can remember about that game is the Shrimp Boat finally unleashing a spread option offense with Brent Schaeffer and the Rebels put up something like 400 yards of offense against a really good LSU defense. I too thought it was a good decision to wait until the 22nd game of Schaeffer's career to finally put him in an offense that played to his strengths.

And I thought I should mention that in 2002, Rick Claussen, yes the Rick Claussen, got to play and was an impressive 2-6, 9 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT.


Russ Shows (1-0)
9-15, 136 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Unfortunately, there were no stats which told me if Shows used all three first half timeouts on the first drive of the game. I feel certain that he did because it was a move that I'm pretty sure he patented.

Lawrence Adams (0-1)
14-22, 125 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Just when I had blocked this season out I ran across this stat. Adams was basically the black Tyson Lee with a little more athleticism. And looking at that stat line, fewer interceptions.

Josh Nelson (1-1)
20-41, 212 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
I'm pretty sure these stats are lying. There's no way Josh Nelson had a 4:1 TD to INT ratio. And thanks to Jamie Howard for letting him win one.

Stewart Patridge (1-1)

43-73, 503 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
I'll always hold a special place for Patridge after watching his 1997 performance in Baton Rouge in person. It helped that he had John Avery, but that was the start of my personal 4-0 record in Tiger Stadium.

Romaro Miller (2-1)

46-83, 669 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT
Not only is he the yardage leader, but he actually had a winning record. This is all very confusing. However, most of his stats can be attributed to the 1998 game in which he threw 4 of those TDs in the first half in what was probably the greatest first half of offensive football I've ever seen from Ole Miss.

Eli Manning (1-2)

63-118, 667 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT
If only he could have had a running game and/or a defense. I hate Ole Miss.

Robert Lane (0-1)

Brace yourselves
4-13, 23 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Granted, he had some yards rushing, but he seriously could not throw a ball further than 12 yards.

Ethan Flatt (0-2)

15-27, 124 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT
Flatt split time with Lane in one of those losses because of the inability of Lane to throw the ball further than a fourth grader. I think it was a small victory that Flatt completed more than 50% of his passes.

Michael Spurlock (0-1)
11-23, 119 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Also split a little time with Flatt in his loss, which when you combine those two, awful things soon take place.

Seth Adams (0-2)

7-16, 80 yards, 1 INT
What a tremendous run of quarterbacks Ole Miss has had since Eli Manning. To be fair to Seth, Brent Schaeffer and Ed Orgeron helped lose those games too.

Brent Schaeffer (0-2)

19-42, 280 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
See above about his wasted career running a pro-style offense. Not that he would have won many more games, but just maybe we wouldn't have been one of the worst offensive football teams in the country for two straight years.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Paul Head's one showing in this series in which he split time with Josh Nelson. 11-23, 85 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT.

If you're still reading, here are the possible combatants for this year's contest. While Jevan Snead's stats don't reflect his current ability, he certainly had the best performance by an Ole Miss quarterback since Romaro Miller's '98 showing.

Jarrett Lee

4-12, 49 yards, 1 INT
Please, please, please, please, please, please let him play.

Jordan Jefferson
10-20, 129, 1 TD, 1 INT
If his ankle really is that bad (and given LSU's offensive line struggles), his one feature, mobility, is gone, which is nice if you're Ole Miss.

Jevan Snead
16-25, 274, 2 TD, 0 INT
If history is any indication, no quarterback in this series put together more than one good game. And given Snead's new role in the offense, I don't expect he'll do anything like this again.

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