FEINSWOG: Mister Trooper, ULL both lay down

My first thoughts were about being fortunate I wasn't going on the air live, nor did I have an early deadline. But when my old Trooper, for which I'm hell bent on throwing a 20-year birthday party in four years, decided that waiting in game-day traffic for almost an hour was more than it could take, well, the first acronym that came to my mind wasn't LSU or ULL but AAA.

I had left my house at 4:15 p.m. Plenty of time to get there, tailgate, visit and then watch the Tigers and Ragin' Cajuns. But Mister Trooper died on Nicholson, less than a mile from campus, at 5:20. AAA came at 6:20 and I was in my home driveway at 6:55.

 

A quick pit stop, a call to the neighbor to borrow a car and I was LSU-bound – again – at 7:09. A minute later, Jim Hawthorne announced LSU's second touchdown.

 

OK, I missed tailgating and LSU's first two scores of the season, but I managed to get into the press box a few minutes before TD three. And, considering how many people were actually on their way out as I walked into Tiger Stadium, I figure I saw as much football Saturday night as anyone. For that matter, it was stunning to see so much traffic headed away from campus after the game had just started.

 

Anyway, I saw that JaMarcus Russell is just fine. Anyone who isn't convinced that he's the man – the only man – for the job needs to reevaluate just what they're thinking. He's obviously completely healed from his late-2005 ailments and still throws one heck of a pass.

 

His receivers looked really good and obviously like running routes for him, because he gets them the ball. And it's a catchable ball at that, something that wasn't the case earlier in Russell's career..

LSU's defense was super as it completely stifled ULL from the start. The Cajuns are a nice team at their level and will score plenty of points this season in games that matter for them, but it was obvious Saturday that they were no match for the incredible team speed that LSU boasts throughout its defense.

 

There were a few first-game jitters for some of the Tigers, but the thought here is to simply chalk up mishandled kicks and a blown assignment here and there to the season opener.

 

On the surface, it appears LSU was lucky to be able to open with ULL and a blowout. Plenty of other teams had tougher challenges Saturday, such as Notre Dame escaping Georgia Tech, and Arizona having to beat BYU on a last-second field goal.

 

Speaking of which, Arizona comes here Saturday and will be interesting to see which team appears better prepared after one game, LSU, which won a blowout, or Arizona, which had to fight for its life. In the logical progression of things, open with a easy game, add one a little tougher the next week and then be ready to hit on all cylinders in two weeks in the all-important trip to Auburn.

 

In the meantime, Mister Trooper sits in the driveway, unable to crank. It can't get any fuel or air or maybe the carburetor died or something. I don't know from cars except that it's paid for and can't wait to get back on the road again.

 

So it will get towed into my guys on Tuesday (Monday is Labor Day) and I'll spend the next few days looking at new cars because it's time.

 

Not that Mister Trooper is going anywhere. Oh, no, I'm going to hold on him. After all, I'm planning that 20th birthday party. It'll be a gas.

 

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Lee Feinswog is a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com.

His book, "HoopDaddy" is available at www.HoopDaddy.net.


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