Saturday, May 3, 2008

Day 2 of the Post-Perrilloux Era

I thank Poseur for covering for me on the Perrilloux situation. I was in court all morning and into the afternoon so I couldn't post the breaking news.

If you click the "Perrilloux" label attached to this post, you will see that I have been a big defender of Ryan Perrilloux in the past. I have defended him on the same basis that Poseur semi-defended him below, which is that while he hasn't followed the rules, he's never done anything so harmful as to merit outright dismissal.

But with news of a positive drug test, allegedly from cocaine, and whispers that this was his problem all along, I am in agreement that the time has come for Ryan Perrilloux to leave the program.

The question is out there of what this will mean on the field. Some are already saying that Ryan leaving is a positive, due to his lack of leadership skills and lack of respect in the locker room. All of that may be true, but he was a studly talent. Losing his production cannot help, unless one of the other quarterbacks is better than expected.

So who is out there? Well, the headliner is Jarrett Lee, a redshirt freshman out of Texas. Here is what I said about Jarrett Lee a year ago when he was just joining the team:
You can tell from his stats that he is tall, slightly built, and not particularly fast. His videos show a solid arm, but he won't be confused with Jamarcus Russell's cannon. He's got good touch, and looks like he's a QB in the Danny Wuerffel mode, which is not a bad thing. He throws with good touch and finds the open man. If you want a more recent comparison, I think he looks a lot like a young Drew Tate. In his last two years of high school, he threw for 71 touchdowns and over 6000 yards, but I doubt you're going to see any of JR's patented 50 yard heaves while leaning on his back foot. Lee is more of a touch passer, but his videos suggest he does that well.
Lee is a solid talent. I don't think he has all-world potential or that he is a "can't miss" prospect, but he's solid. He has a good arm, but he's no Jamarcus Russell. He has nice mobility, probably in the Matt Flynn mold in that respect, but he's not Russell Shepard.

Obviously, because Lee is a redshirt freshman, he has not played a down at the college level. If you believe practice reports, Lee throws a really nice ball, but is not necessarily developing as a quarterback as quickly as one would hope. If he's going to take the reins of the team, he will have to work on reading defenses and making decisions as the offseason progresses. Ideally, he is a guy we would have liked to allow to develop in a backup role for another year or two before giving him a chance to win the job.

The other prime candidate for the starting job is transfer QB Andrew Hatch. His story is pretty well-known by now, but I'll recount it anyway. Hatch is from Nevada and was recruited by Gary Crowton to go to BYU. When Crowton was fired from BYU, Hatch switched his commitment to Harvard. Then, after a year, Hatch went on a Mormon mission, and when he returned he transferred to LSU. He is a junior.

Hatch played a bit last year, in the Middle Tennessee State game last year. He was 1 for 2 passing with 9 yards. He has also rushed 4 times for 27 yards. He is known primarily as a runner. He does not have the arm that Jarrett Lee has, but he is somewhat bigger than Lee. With Hatch, we would not be able to have much of a downfield passing game, which would negate some of the strengths of our receivers. Demetrius Byrd, in particular, would be hurt by Hatch being the regular QB. He would give us the running dimension that Lee doesn't give us, however. He could step right into Perrilloux's role of running the option and not miss a beat.

Don't count out Jordan Jefferson though. He is an incoming freshman out of Destrahan. Watching his videos, it is my opinion that Jefferson has better tools than Jarrett Lee. He has a strong arm and good legs. If you watch his videos, be sure to watch his senior videos. They are light years better than his junior videos. He is not a Jamarcus Russell or a Ryan Perrilloux in terms of talent (few are), nor is he as dynamic as Russell Shepard (though he is a much better passer right now), but he has the tools to be a very successful college QB.

This is a talented kid. He may well be the QB of the future, but it is awfully hard to come in and be the man as a true freshman. Lee has one year of development, maturation, and education on Jefferson. That makes a huge difference at this stage of their careers. You would really like to see Jefferson redshirt rather than play immediately.

Ideally, you would like to give both Lee and Jefferson a chance to understudy for a little while and then compete with each other for the starting job. That would mean that ideally you would want a veteran like Hatch to take the reins for a little while while Lee and Jefferson learn. But Hatch may not have the arm strength to be the man, and we may have to go with Jarrett Lee, and if he fails turn it over to Jefferson.

I suspect we'll see a situational rotation of Hatch and Lee next season, unless and until one or the other of them really emerges, which is likely to be Lee.

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