DEVILLE: Won't know whatcha got, til its gone

I saw Tiger Stadium from a totally different perspective last Saturday.

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 Mississippi State.

 

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 Mississippi State even gained a first down.

 

Yikes!

 

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 Mississippi State secondary with surgical precision.

 

Russell ended the game completing 18 of 20 passes for a career-high 330 yards and three touchdowns. In his last two games versus Mississippi State, Russell has completed 39 of 45 passes for 535 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

 

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.

 

Insane!

 

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 Mobile needs to do anything else to solidify his place as LSU's top quarterback. Yet there are still fans out there that will howl for Flynn, which is just downright idiotic considering the fact his first pass Saturday went for seven points the other way.

 

Then there are the pro-Perrilloux ranters, who argue that the youngster should play because had he went to Texas, he would be the starter there.

 

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 Auburn and SEC officials)

 

"It is rather obvious that the Auburn /LSU game was poorly … no, deliberately … called in Auburn's favor. I am surprised that people in the press think it impossible that wealthy alumni can pay off officials and that the head of officials is incorruptible. ... Look at the facts and scrutinize the film. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the pattern, and it doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to understand that to make something like "fixing" unbelievable, you must also pay the boss to turn his head and defend you ... which is what happened. ...Your remarks seem to indicate that you trust the system completely and accept all their decisions like a good little boy. ... That's EXACTLY what the Jews did in Germany. Has anyone bothered to do a thorough investigation of this matter to see if there is ANY connection between the officials and Auburn alumni? It's not that difficult to do. The press jumps on the officials' band wagon and defends the establishment without ever checking to see if they could be wrong. ... Would you be interested in some oceanfront property in Tennessee?"

-         Unsigned

 

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Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at matt@tigerrag.com.


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