why would chief put in Hatcher over Minter for most of 2011?
False. Hatcher started the first three games, which included wins over two ranked teams. Minter starated the fourth game against West Virginia and never looked back.
If you ask me, this is exactly where LSU is now. Minter was obviously more talented than Hatcher, but Hatcher had years of understanding the defense and making calls over Minter. Once it became evident that Minter was ready to make all the calls, Chief went with the talent starting in the West Virginia game.
Certainly, the defense didn't suffer for having Hatcher in the starting lineup. In the three games Hatcher started, LSU gave up 36 points, 27 of them against Oregon (which included a late, meaningless TD). In the last two games Hatcher started, LSU did not give up a TD.
That tells me that, while Hatcher struggled physically, the right calls were getting made and the LBs were in place to make the proper plays consistently.