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October 4, 2011

No difference

With Jordan Jefferson reinstated to the LSU football team, it seems like coach Les Miles is prepared to go back to the two-quarterback system he used a year ago.

After Jefferson struggled during the first month of the 2010 campaign, Miles began to utilize Jarrett Lee. In the victories against both Tennessee and Florida, Lee was responsible for the outcome.

Now, it appears the roles will switch. Lee will be the starter with Jefferson coming off the bench. The LSU offensive players don't concern themselves with the quarterback decision.

"I don't even know who the quarterback is sometimes," tight end Deangelo Peterson said. "I know the personnel group. I know what the play is. I'm just worried about getting the play call. Both are good quarterbacks. I know both can lead us to victory. There is no difference between the two."

Lee has expressed his happiness with Jefferson being back on the team.

"It's very comforting having Jordan back," Lee said. "We have two guys in case something happens to one of us. Either one of us can come in and make a play."

Center P.J. Lonergan obviously can tell the difference between the two quarterbacks since he snaps the ball to one of them on every play. He admitted that there are some small variations between the two.

"There is slight difference between Jordan and Jarrett," Lonergan said. "Dealing with that is part of being the center on the team. But, I've worked with both of them, so it's a slight difference for me."

Lonergan is another player who is not concerned with which quarterback is on the field.

"It doesn't matter to the players," Lonergan said. "It's not that we don't care. We do care about the guys with us on the field. But, we don't change the way we block depending upon who is in the game at quarterback.

"The thought that playing two quarterbacks affects team chemistry is out of proportion. Both guys have been here - four years for Jordan and five years for Jarrett. I don't feel our offense is better with one or the other in the game."

Like Jefferson, Russell Shepard had to serve a suspension this season for violating a NCAA rule. Shepard missed the first three games of the season. Shepard was impressed by what he saw when Jefferson returned to practice last Thursday.

"Jordan continued to act like nothing happened during his suspension," Shepard said. "He threw every week. Sometimes he called receivers to come catch passes. Sometimes, he threw on his own.

"Jordan was prepared to come back some day. He just didn't know when. He looked very good last week. He was very crisp, very fresh."

Shepard acknowledged that he has no preference as to which quarterback is in the game.

"Nothing changes depending upon who's on the field," Shepard said. "I've played with Jarrett. I've played with Jordan. Jordan runs a little more than Jarrett. Jordan just has to catch up with the rest of the team after being out. The two quarterbacks won't hurt our chemistry or rhythm."

Both Jefferson and Lee are veterans. Lee has been in the program one year longer than Jefferson since he was redshirted. Being older players helps both individuals handle a two-quarterback system.

"This is something Jordan and me have done our whole career," Lee said. "We have switched out and in all the time. We'll do whatever it takes to win ball games.

"Jordan coming in Saturday and scoring didn't affect me at all. He made a play for us and we scored. We have trust in each other. We are good friends. We have been around each other for a long time."

Jefferson will now have to play the role of reliever which Lee did in 2010. Lee admitted that the situation changes in a two-quarterback system.

"You just have to prepare like you're the starter," Lee said. "You never know when your number is going to be called. You can be called to go in at any moment. There were times last year when I was told ahead of time that I was going to go in for a certain series. I knew the plays we were going to run."

Lee also stressed that the two quarterbacks are certainly different from how they were back in 2008.

"Jordan and me are a lot older," Lee said. "When we were asked questions in the meeting room then, there was a lot of silence. Now, we know the answers. We are in there watching film before the meetings. We know what it takes to be successful."

Tight end Mitch Joseph believes the Tigers can win with either Jefferson or Lee at quarterback.

"From my standpoint, it doesn't matter who is back there," Joseph said. "At the beginning of the season, Jarrett stepped up and made some great plays. Jordan also has experience. We trust him too. We all worked hard together in the summer. When I go in the huddle, I just worry about my assignment.

"Jordan came in Saturday and everybody was booing. That shouldn't occur. That's not appropriate for true fans. They should be happy for whoever is in the game and should support all of us."



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