Posted: Saturday July 29, 2006 12:41AM; Updated: Wednesday August 9, 2006 11:52AM
Matt Flynn threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns in LSU's 40-3 Peach Bowl win over Miami.
That's the knock on Russell: He's too risky. He's often too willing to rely on the howitzer he calls a right arm to force throws that often aren't there. Occasionally it pays off, like in the 39-yard scoring strike to Early Doucet against Arizona State or the game-winner against Alabama, but it's the times it doesn't when people harp on his inconsistency. It's interesting to point out, though, that Russell completed 60.5 percent of his passes last year, compared with Flynn, who completed 56.3 percent of his attempts.
The truth is that Russell gives the Tigers the best chance to win. While Flynn is the more heady of the two, and willing to stay with the play as opposed to Russell's insistent ad-libbing, it's what Russell can do in those moments when a play looks busted that makes him so dangerous, and it's exactly what Miles needs out of him. Vince Young he's not, but tailbacks Ally Broussard and Justin Vincent are both coming back from knee injuries, and Russell's legs can help take the pressure off the backfield as the two regain their feel early on.
And if anyone has any doubts that Russell's back to full strength, senior receiver Dwayne Bowe can silence them.
"We were fooling around doing some passing drills the other day and he got down on one knee and threw it 75 yards," Bowe said. "It was amazing."
So where does this leave Perrilloux, the redshirt freshman who came in with so much hype but is behind Flynn on the depth chart? While Miles says "it's going to take some great play to win the job," you have to think Perrilloux is going to have to enlist Amy Grant and the crew of Three Wishes in order to supplant Russell and Flynn. But Miles says there's absolutely no talk of Perrilloux switching positions -- or transferring.
"With competition, as he improves, as he gets closer to the field, then his time will come," Miles said. "Who's to predict when that time may be, and hopefully for all it means success for LSU, whether he's the starter or waits his turn."
Right now it's JaMarcus Russell's turn and JaMarcus Russell's team, and the Tigers will go only as far as his abilities -- as nerve-wracking as they may be for many Bayou faithful -- take them. But you can believe that the first time he runs out of the pocket too early or overthrows a receiver, the questions will start again. Let's just hope for Miles' sake they aren't coming from his wife.