Jordan Jefferson gets a little redemption in N.O.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTONPittsburgh Power and former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson celebrates a touchdown in the first quarter of Friday's game against the New Orleans VooDoo at the New Orleans Arena. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTONPittsburgh Power and former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson celebrates a touchdown in the first quarter of Friday's game against the New Orleans VooDoo at the New Orleans Arena.

NEW ORLEANS — Greg D’Fonseca had never attended a VooDoo game before Friday.

But the avid LSU fan from Hammond decided come for one reason — to root against former Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson, now a rookie with the visiting Pittsburgh Power.

“I want to see him get sacked and throw interceptions,” D’Fonseca said. “I don’t hate the guy, and I know I shouldn’t still hold the Alabama game against him.

“But I guess I do.”

D’Fonseca went home disappointed Friday.

Playing on the other side of Girod Avenue from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where Jefferson’s college career ended with a dismal 21-0 loss in the 2012 BCS Championship Game, Jefferson threw for five touchdowns to lead the Power to a 46-43 Arena League victory, his team’s first of the season.

“There’s always going to be haters,” Jefferson said. “I guess they just can’t let that Alabama game go.

“I heard a few boos. But I still have a lot of supporters.”

Indeed.

About 50 friends and family members from Jefferson’s home town of Destrehan were present Friday, including younger brother Rickey, an LSU signee at wide receiver.

Also among them was Mickey Waltz, who was wearing a No. 9 LSU jersey, Jefferson’s number both in high school and college.

“This is how they should have been letting him play at LSU,” Waltz said. “Let him get under center, drop back and make his reads.

“Everybody in Destrehan still loves Jordan. I just wish he’d get a chance in the NFL.”

That may be a long shot.

Jefferson did spend four days in the rookie free agent camp at Tampa Bay last spring and was on the practice squad of the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL in the fall.

But thus far, there have been no calls this year.

However, Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, the co-owner of the Power, said that Jefferson has shown marked improvement in his four weeks in the AFL.

“He’s progressing every week,” Swann said. “We’re giving him a little more time to throw the ball and you can see him gain in confidence back there.

“He’s putting in the time and doing the things he needs to do which will allow him to become a better quarterback. We’ve very comfortable with Jordan as our quarterback.”

Jefferson, who was signed by the Power just before the start of training camp in March, had thrown for only eight touchdowns in his first three games, His team scored a franchise-low 14 points in last week’s Chicago game and was shut out in the first half, which is almost unheard of in the AFL.

But Friday, he completed 19 of 30 passes for 223 yards with no interceptions, bringing his team back from an early 23-7 deficit. Jefferson, who came into the game second in the league in rushing with 96 yards, carried eight times for a net of 30 yards.

“You can tell how much JJ is catching on to the game,” said VooDoo defensive lineman Marlon Favorite, a teammate of Jefferson’s at LSU, said. “If he continues to work hard, he’ll be fine.

“I’m really proud of him.”

That’s the kind of talk Jefferson likes to hear,

“I’m trying to change my identity,” he said. “I’ve been humbled by my situation, but that just makes me want to improve to get to the next level.

“I really think that’s going to come. The best way I can do that is continue to win games.”

And maybe in the process win back some LSU fans.

“He’s had his ups and downs,” said Roderick Parker of Port Sulphur, who was wearing an LSU jacket. “But that’s part of being a football player.

“I know some people are against him because he had a bad night against Alabama. I think that was more bad coaching myself.”