All the talk of cheatin' refs and thuggin' Vols has, in the words of commenter The Bengal, done the following:
The result, though, is that between Interceptiongate and the new Knoxville Crime Syndicate, we’ve not really talked about the fact that Jarrett Lee is going to get his first start in a year, Russell Shepard may throw his first pass, and Stevan Ridley could have a big breakout game tomorrow night. The La Tech game has quietly developed some interesting aspects while all the rest of this stuff has been happening.
So, um... yeah. All that stuff is happening, and I have completely failed to pay attention. In between episodes of the college football soap opera, some actual college football will be played. It's like the new style of professional wrestling, where very little grappling in the squared circle happens, and a whole lot of jawin' into the microphone happens.
Anyway, Jarrett Lee. He's probably going to be starting at quarterback for us tomorrow. I think Jarrett Lee gets a bad rap for what happened last year. I think this for a number of reasons:
- Despite the very high profile interceptions that get all the attention, lost in the shuffle of all of that was the fact that Jarrett Lee was actually pretty productive most of the time. He threw interceptions, but he also threw touchdown passes and got a lot of yards. In terms of passer ratings and ATVSQBPIs, he was a mid-pack SEC quarterback last year, in a year where there was a lot of garbage in the conference.
- Despite all of the interceptions, you can really only point to one game in 2008 in which poor quarterback play clearly was the deciding factor: the Bama game. By this time, his psyche was in the toilet. On the other hand, solid play by him probably made the difference against Auburn and South Carolina.
- Like Gary Danielson, I believe Lee's problem was more that he was relied upon too early in his career rather than a talent deficiency. If Jarrett Lee had spent another year holding a clipboard, I think he would have ended up being a very good player.
- I think Lee suffered a lot when Andrew Hatch got hurt. Lee seemed to benefit from a two-quarterback system, and getting a chance to watch from the sidelines every so often. I think the combination of Lee and Hatch was better than the sum of its parts, and when Hatch got hurt, Lee lost a lot of confidence.
Anyway, we're probably going to see a lot of him tomorrow. Good luck young Mr. Lee.