BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Even as undefeated LSU has racked up wins and climbed the rankings, Tigers fans have gotten restless.
They've seen this act before. No. 12 LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) started 4-0 in 2008 and 5-0 last season, only to fade when the schedule got tougher.
So when LSU's passing offense stagnated for a third straight game during last Saturday's 20-14 win over West Virginia, the boos rained down from Tiger Stadium.
Then when coach Les Miles replaced embattled quarterback Jordan Jefferson with backup Jarrett Lee for one series in the fourth quarter, a mocking cheer echoed through Death Valley.
``Offensively, nobody is satisfied in our building,'' Miles said this week, noting that LSU's offense as a whole didn't do Jefferson any favors with penalties, dropped passes and missed blocks.
``I can tell you that it wasn't a great night to be a quarterback in our offense, no matter who the quarterback was.''
LSU is favored by more than two touchdowns against Tennessee (2-2, 0-1), meaning this could be the Tigers' last chance to get their aerial attack in synch before what looks like the first true test on their schedule - a road game at Florida on Oct. 9.
LSU is averaging only 110 yards passing this season, and in each of the past three games, Jefferson has thrown for fewer than 100 yards and no TDs.
Miles said Jefferson will start again against Tennessee, but added that Lee is close to being ready for more meaningful snaps.
``It's never going to be necessarily the fact that the other guy is just doing poorly,'' Miles said. ``It's with the compliment of the efforts that Jarrett Lee has. He's worked hard at it. He has continued to compete and continues to improve, so my view is looking for opportunities to get him on the field.''
Lee knows what it's like to be booed, too. After Ryan Perrilloux was kicked off the team in 2008 and early season starter Andrew Hatch got hurt, Lee was thrown into a starting role as a freshman. At times he showed potential and at times he made game-changing rookie mistakes in the form of seven interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. He played in one game last season and has taken only a few snaps this year, so no one really knows if Lee has developed enough to build on what he has done well while eliminating the errors of the past.
First-year Tennessee coach Derek Dooley wishes he had Miles' problems. The Volunteers needed double-overtime to pull out a victory at home over underdog Alabama-Birmingham last weekend. That only got their record back to .500.
Dooley responded by giving his players two days off ``to clear their minds and get physically well.''
Top Tennessee running back Tauren Poole left the UAB game with a thigh injury and Dooley hoped he'd be ready to go in Baton Rouge. Quarterback Matt Simms has taken a beating behind a young offensive line that as allowed 14 sacks.
``He has taken a lot of hits,'' Dooley said. ``We've got to do a better job protecting him because he won't make it. But he's tough. I give him credit. Not many quarterbacks take a lot of hits and don't get affected, and he hasn't been.''
Simms can expect plenty of pressure again this week from LSU's SEC-leading defense, which has 11 sacks and six interceptions through four games.
Senior defensive tackle Drake Nevis has led the push up front and star cornerback Patrick Peterson has a pair of interceptions to go with his two punt returns for scores.
The dominating unit is directed by defensive coordinator John Chavis, now in his second season at LSU after two decades at Tennessee. This will mark the first time the Volunteers had to play against a Chavis defense, and they expect a tough test.
``Their defensive line, I mean, it looks like watching an NFL team,'' Dooley said. ``When I say phenomenal talent at every position, they probably have one of the best secondary guys in the country, and they have great coaching. So when you combine great coaching and phenomenal talent, and you can tell that they believe in their system, you've got a great defense.''
Oddsmakers apparently believe that LSU's dominant defense, strong special teams and a solid running game led by Stevan Ridley will carry the Tigers to a comfortable victory whether or not they struggle to throw against a Tennessee team that gave up 429 yards passing to UAB.
Miles just hopes that, whatever happens, the home fans will be more supportive.
``I've never in my life seen the reason to root negatively. I root strong for the team that I support,'' Miles said. ``When you see great effort and you see risk of injury, it's serious. It's not pretend. There are guys out there fighting. I kind of respect that.''