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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


There is a quarterback battle brewing at LSU after all, but junior JaMarcus Russell is not involved in it.

Russell is clearly No. 1 as he was last year and ever since Marcus Randall finished at LSU in 2004. He actually should have been No. 1 before that, but that's another story.

The race is for No. 2 between junior Matt Flynn and red-shirt freshman Ryan Perrilloux.

Alabama coach Ray Perkins, the second best of seven Bear Bryant replacements after Gene Stallings, once told me that a coach never has to name a No. 2 quarterback.

Flynn may be the first off the bench should LSU build a big lead against Louisiana-Lafayette in the opener on Sept. 2, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. LSU coaches, who are so conscious of their quarterbacks' feelings that one would think they are in Williamsport, Pa., will put Flynn in first this season for mop-up duty based on seniority.

But if they need a real No. 2 quarterback in case of a sputtering offense or an injury to Russell or Russell just having a bad day, look for Perrilloux to be the man.

Perrilloux has drawn even with Flynn in August camp if the Aug. 19 scrimmage is any indication.

Flynn did not throw with a lot of sharpness and did not throw the next Monday because of a sore arm. Perrilloux has never had a sore arm and is just more talented. He is also improving on a daily basis.

LSU coaches also have to keep Perrilloux happy moreso than Flynn. Perrilloux, who was the No. 1 quarterback in the nation coming out of high school, was told he'd have a shot at the job and some playing time when he signed. Flynn was not nearly as large a signing. He was not the No. 1 quarterback in Texas, much less the country. He's a solid and dependable backup who could start and win at a lot of other schools, but he's not going anywhere. He's happy where he is.

Meanwhile, Perrilloux has a little more leverage. He could leave at any time, like this week.

LSU's coaches also know what Flynn can do under fire. They are more interested in what Perrilloux will do in such live situations, particularly early in the season, so he will be that much better if really needed later on.

So make that depth chart Russell and Flynn/Perrilloux.


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