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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In defense of Flynn

BATON ROUGE - First of all, I have to laugh at all you fans and media members who thought Matt Flynn was going to be as good or better than JaMarcus Russell. Ha-Ha-Ha.

Flynn at his best is not in Russell's league, and that's not a shot at Flynn because Russell was the best quarterback in LSU history.

A caller to Jimmy Ott's radio show here Monday said it best. He questioned what game or what substance fans were smoking in past years when they said Flynn should be playing instead of Russell. He then said Louisianians do not know how to judge talent and said such mistakes are often made in the state's political arena. What an excellent point. Only someone who voted for Ray Nagin to be mayor for a second term or someone who voted for Kathleen Blanco over Bobby Jindal could think Flynn could be better than Russell.

Flynn could still become a good quarterback at LSU, though. He's just not going to be great as so many thought and hoped based on one Peach Bowl when everything went right in so many areas of LSU's game.

In Flynn's defense, he is playing without nearly as good a receiving corps as Russell had. If Flynn had a healthy Early Doucet along with Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis, he would be rated much higher than 93rd in the nation in passing efficiency. He would be rated significantly higher this season if Brandon LaFell had just caught half of the passes he dropped.

Without Doucet, LSU's receiving corp is a talented and youthful mess. They line up wrong. They run the wrong routes. And they drop passes. At the same time, Flynn has a much better running game to mix in than Russell ever had. Flynn has played with a hurt ankle, but Russell played half a season in 2005 with torn ligaments in his throwing wrist that were completely stripped by season's end.

Flynn still has plenty of season left to prove himself, particularly with Doucet possibly about to start playing more with this Saturday's game at Auburn. Flynn himself is not long over an ankle injury that hurt his season. He had gotten off to a great start. Then he looked up after game two and he had an ankle injury and Doucet was out.

He still needs to recognize a receiver is about to be open and throw it rather than seeing someone open, thinking about it for a second and then throwing it. He seems to be too careful and nervous back there. At the same time, he has shown flashes of Russell, or brilliance. He just needs to be more consistent. He could keep his head up and look downfield when he scrambles, too. Receivers tend to get open in those situations.

Flynn never said he was better than Russell. In fact, Flynn himself marveled at Russell's talent. It's too bad many fans never realized how great Russell was until he was about done here. Then some still refused to admit it and hoped Flynn would be much better. I even heard some say that Flynn would be more "cerebral" than Russell, who people forget made the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Flynn may speak better than Russell, but as of yet he doesn't play smarter.


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