Waiting his turn

Matt Flynn is a competitor, there is no doubt about it.

During his senior season at at Lee High School in Tyler, Texas, Flynn led his team to the state semifinals. He played the last six games of that season with a broken foot.


When it came time to select a college to attend, Flynn committed to LSU – and there was never a doubt in his mind. Even with Monroe, La. standout Robert Lane also committed to LSU, Flynn never wavered on his choice. Even when Mobile, Ala. star JaMarcus Russell picked the Tigers, Flynn stood strong on his commitment.


Lane pulled his commitment and instead chose Ole Miss. But Flynn arrived at LSU, even though many felt he would likely fall behind Russell on the depth chart.


And that came to pass.


Russell became LSU's part-time starter in 2004 and by 2005, it was his show. Flynn waited in the wings for mop-up duty when it came available, which wasn't often.


Russell went down in the 2005 SEC Championship Game and Flynn came in with the Tigers trailing by a large margin. His first pass went the other way for a Georgia touchdown.


Flynn did enjoy some retribution on the same field actually when he helped lead LSU to a 40-3 win over Miami in the Peach Bowl. It was no doubt the proudest moment of his career.


Last season, with Russell back at the helm, Flynn saw little action as the Tigers went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl. Russell was taken as the No. 1 player in the NFL Draft.


Flynn has had four years to watch, learn and practice the utmost of patience. It would have been easy for the 6-3, 230-pound signal caller to throw in the towel, go back to Texas or transfer to a smaller school. But Flynn stayed the course and now it is his time to shine.


"I've been here for five years, and I feel like every year there are expectations, and I think every year expectations grow," Flynn said. "So, you learn to deal with that and you learn how to play with it. You just can't focus on what people are saying. We as a team have to get together and come up with goals for ourselves."


The Tigers have goals, but the fans have even higher expectations. At no point in LSU football has there been so much preseason hype. The Tigers will open the season ranked No. 2 in both major polls – and Flynn will at the controls of the preseason favorite to win the SEC – and play for a national championship.


"We know there are expectations, but we have expectations for ourselves," Flynn said. "You just have to look past it, take it one day at a time, one game at a time. We think we have a special team this year, and we can do something very good and very special. If we keep working and stick together, we can accomplish it."


One major change which Flynn has had to adjust to is the arrival of new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. Flynn had been tutored by Jimbo Fisher for the pats four seasons. And while he was close to the now Florida State offensive coordinator, Crowton's more wide-open approach better suits Flynn's style of play.


"Me and Coach Crowton have developed a very close relationship," Flynn said. "We've worked a lot together studying film. Just me and him sitting down and going over plays and reading defenses. He's taught me a lot about just the game in general, not just specific plays. We are getting on the same page and building some chemistry.


"I know what he's going to want before the play even starts.  It's good that that's going to happen, that me and him can be on the same page.  I think it's going to help the offense in general."


Crowton has a pretty impressive resume having coached some of the most prolific passing attacks in the country. Flynn has bought into the Crowton philosophy and helped his coach adjust to the new surroundings at LSU.


"Matt has been such a pleasure to coach," Crowton said. "He's intelligent and has a great work ethic. He has leadership quality and is easy to coach. It makes it really nice for a coach. When I came in as a new guy and coming into a program that has had a lot of success with the coordinator before me, he accepted me very well and listened to me. He worked with me and really led the young guys in the right direction. I've been very pleased with him."


Crowton said while Flynn has started only one game, what he has seen on film is impressive.


"He was a one game starter in that Miami game and didn't get a lot of starts after," Crowton said. "I've watched him on films from last year and I've watch him on film now. I've seen a lot of improvement and I think good things are going to happen."


Gone with Russell in the first round are the Tigers' top two receivers from a year ago in Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis. But Flynn retains big-play receiver Early Doucet, who has two career game-winning touchdown receptions.


"I feel very confident with Early Doucet," Flynn said. "It's obvious, if I need a big play or a big first down, I'm going to look to him first. There's no doubt about that. He's proven throughout the years that he can make big plays. I feel fortunate that I have him out there. It makes my job a little bit easier."


And Doucet expresses those feelings likewise.


"He's been here five years, and he's just a leader," Doucet said. "He knows how to handle the situation. He's going to be ready to make plays for us."

Tiger Blitz Top Stories