Myers quietly provides stable base for LSU

There was little attention, if any, given in the Sunday papers for a streak that came to an end in LSU's 35-10 win over The Citadel.<br><br>It went by virtually unnoticed that senior wide receiver Jerel Myers had his run of consecutive games with at least one catch halted at 16.

All accounts focused on the Tigers' first win of the 2002 season and how the Bulldogs weren't quite the doormats everyone predicted they would be on their trip to Baton Rouge.


In fact, the last person who would bring the end of the string to anyone's attention is Myers himself.


"He doesn't say a lot," says teammate Reggie Robinson. "He catches everything that comes his way. That's what Jerel is all about."


Unfortunately, Myers did not get the chance to prove Robinson correct against The Citadel. His best opportunity to do so came on a post route play in the first quarter. Myers got a couple of steps on his defender and could have easily scored on a properly thrown ball, but Matt Mauck's throw was too short and wound up being intercepted.


Myers walked off the field without any fuss after the play. To do anything else would go against the grain of the quiet Houstonian who came to LSU in 1999 and made an immediate splash as a Freshman All-American for The Sporting News and Freshman All-Southeastern Conference selection.


He finished his debut season with more receptions (64) than any other freshman in school history. His totals included 854 receiving yards, including a 13-catch 153-yard performance against Auburn, and two touchdowns.


Myers' production declined a bit over his sophomore and junior seasons, due in large part to the emergence of All-American Josh Reed. Although there weren't as many balls thrown his way, he made the most of the ones that were. He caught a pass in every game but one in 2000 and kept the streak alive through all 13 games in 2001 when his highlights included a touchdown reception against Alabama.


Even with Reed making his exit for the NFL, the expectations were still very high for the LSU receiving corps entering the 2002 campaign. Myers' stable hands provided the foundation, and Robinson returned from a redshirt season to provide a physical edge to the passing game. Plus, all signs pointed to Michael Clayton being able to pick up some of Reed's production.


So with all this weaponry at the Tigers' disposal, it came as a shock that the Tiger receivers were a liability to the team in the season opener against Virginia Tech. Eight dropped passes kept the Tigers from building any offensive consistency in a 26-8 loss to the Hokies.


"I don't think we looked balls in as good as we usually do," said Myers, who had one catch for six yards to keep his streak alive. "I think that's one of the reasons why we dropped so many. It's just something you have to focus more on. In practice you don't pay attention to a lot of the small things you do all the time, but in a game it's usually the small things that kill you."


Attention to detail was the receivers' credo during the practice week for The Citadel game, but a conservative offensive game plan limited LSU to 22 passes -- and ten completions among four receivers.


Prior to the game, Myers said the Tigers were not going to overlook their opponent from Division I-AA.


"We don't take anyone lightly," he said. "This is college football and everybody's good. We have to build off things we know we can do."


Myers added that he has always been more concerned with wins rather than his statistics. In addition, he is adjusting to his role as a team leader in his final year at LSU.


"I know I have a lot of experience with the team and with the offense," Myers said. "I know I can contribute and help out where we need help. That's my job. I try to help out wherever I can, especially on the field. Coaches call plays and things like that, and whoever's on the side of me I try to help them out."


Since the Virginia Tech loss, Myers says he and other Tigers have answered the "wake-up call" to provide more intensity and leadership. It begins in the locker room, he insists, and has to be carried on to the field.


"Every year that I've been here there's always been one game that changes around the whole season," Myers said. "I think Virginia Tech just changed our whole mind frame of this season. We're going to get better and win some games."

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