QBs in focus as Tigers report for camp


This was supposed to be the LSU August camp where the quarterback spot was finally going to be a settled issue.

There is no more Jordan Jefferson vs. Jarrett Lee controversy. It's Zach Mettenberger's team and that was supposed to be the extent of the story.

It has not worked out that way.

Tuesday was full of quarterback developments, ending with the news everybody was expecting to hear: Rob Bolden, the former Penn State quarterback, will be joining the LSU program, maybe as soon as Wednesday, the day players report for the start of August camp.

Earlier Tuesday, news came out that Jeremy Liggins, the 2012 recruit who was struggling to meet academic standards to play at LSU, apparently opted to play for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College instead.

As of Tuesday night, Liggins was still on the LSU roster and Bolden was not on the roster. It's expected that head coach Les Miles will address both players when he meets with the media for the first time in August camp at 12:45 p.m.

When it became clear Liggins would go the junior college route, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Bolden, who visited LSU over the weekend, would be a desired commodity for the Tigers. While the junior won't necessarily take Liggins' roster spot, the Tigers clearly were not comfortable with entering a season with just three scholarship quarterbacks. Bolden gives them four.

Few expect Bolden, who struggled in part-time starting duty in two years in Happy Valley, to challenge Mettenberger for the starter's job. Bolden threw just seven touchdowns and was intercepted 14 times in two seasons and went from starting his first game as a true freshman, to slipping to No. 3 on the depth chart after the spring.

But with the other two LSU quarterbacks -- Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall -- both redshirt freshmen, Bolden could give the Tigers an experienced backup and maturity at the position if Mettenberger were to get hurt.

He would also give LSU a staple in its recent offenses: the option of a running QB. In each of the last four seasons, the LSU tandem of Jordan Jefferson (the dual-threat) and Jarrett Lee (the passer) gave LSU the runner/passer dynamic.

And in 2007's national championship season, Ryan Perrilloux came off the Tigers' bench behind starter Matt Flynn to give LSU a running threat.

Mettenberger and Rivers, who emerged from the spring as the second-teamer, are both pocket passers, which seemed to remove the prospect of a running quarterback from the Tigers' game plan. Bolden could bring it back.

While there are questions about backup quarterbacks, there is little question about the quality of the rest of the Tigers roster that reports today. LSU returns 15 starters -- six on both offense and defense and three specialists -- and 41 lettermen from last year's 13-1 team that won the SEC, but lost to Alabama in the BCS national championship game. The Tigers are already ranked No. 1 in many preseason rankings and will likely be among the top 2-3 teams in the upcoming major national polls.

The Tigers' first practice is Thursday morning. The first three days will feature split workouts with veterans in the morning and freshmen and selected veterans in the afternoon. The first full-squad practice is Sunday morning.

LSU will have scrimmages Saturday, Aug. 11, Thursday, Aug. 16 and Tuesday, Aug. 21, the last day of camp before the Tigers turn their attention to the Sept. 1 season opener against North Texas at Tiger Stadium. All three scrimmages are closed to the public and media. Practices are closed to the public, but LSU will host a fan day from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and the Carl Maddox Field House on LSU's campus.