Tiger Rag's parent company,
Louisiana Network, has a suite in the east upper deck of Tiger Stadium. At the
very last minute Saturday, I received a phone call informing me that there was
an extra ticket to the suite for Saturday's game versus
Dena Manino, Tiger Rag's operations manager, asked if I would be interested in sitting in the suite for the game.
Considering I have worked for the company for four years and I have never had the opportunity to sit in the Tiger Den Suite because I am always in the press box, I accepted the invite. It wasn't like the game was going to be close or anything. Plus, with Saturday's cruddy weather, it was a pretty good decision, considering the rain, heat and humidity.
At any rate, I took the elevator up to the first level in Tiger Stadium's east upper deck and found my way to the suite. I got there just in time for kickoff and found a seat on the front row.
It didn't take long for the Tigers
to begin systematically dismantling the helpless Bulldogs. LSU bolted out to a
quick, three-touchdown lead and led 21-0 before
JaMarcus Russell looked like a
Heisman Trophy candidate throughout the first half of Saturday's game. The 6-6,
260-pound junior quarterback delivered one impressive pass after another to an
array of wide receivers, slicing apart the
Russell ended the game completing
18 of 20 passes for a career-high 330 yards and three touchdowns. In his last
two games versus
Pretty good, I would have to say.
Russell improves to 18-3 as LSU's starting quarterback, and one would think all talk of that quarterback controversy mess is finally put to bed – you know, the fact some fans consistently cry for Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux to start in front of Russell.
After watching Saturday's game, either from the press box, the bleachers or the plush accommodations of a Tiger Den Suite, no one person can honestly tell me JaMarcus Russell isn't the best quarterback on this team. Heck, he's the best quarterback in the SEC.
Maybe even the nation.
Yet at one point during Saturday's game, I heard one fan, standing in a suite several spots down from the one I was in, bellow out "I don't understand why they won't play Matt Flynn."
I don't get it.
As I sat down to write this column,
I was looking for the proper perspective on which to base my JaMarcus Russell
argument. It's not like the Mammoth Man-child from
Then there are the pro-Perrilloux
ranters, who argue that the youngster should play because had he went to
Hey, Ryan Perrilloux made a decision to come to LSU knowing Russell and Flynn were there. While I don't think Flynn can stay ahead of Perrilloux once Russell is gone, Perrilloux needs to understand he is playing behind a veteran starter who just might be the best quarterback in the country. He must wait his turn; his time will eventually come.
As for JaMarcus, it is a shame a portion of the LSU fan base continues to refuse to give him the credit he deserves for what he has accomplished while wearing the purple and gold.
It can truly be said that people will not understand just how good Russell is until he is gone. Whoever replaces Russell, albeit Flynn, Perrilloux or incoming freshman Jarrett Lee, the shoes that player will have to fill will be quite large.
And when those Russell detractors finally realize what they had, Russell won't care less, as he laughs all the way to the bank as an NFL quarterback.
From the mailbag:
(An LSU fan who is calling a
conspiracy theory with
"It is rather obvious that the
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger
Rag magazine. Reach him at