ATLANTA -- LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell did not travel
with the team for Friday's Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl against Miami, and will miss
the game with an injured shoulder.
As recently as a week ago, LSU coach Les Miles expressed
optimism about Russell's chances for the game. Instead, No. 10 LSU
is left with sophomore Matt Flynn, who has appeared in 24 games but
will be making his first start.
Russell, who throws with his right hand, separated his left
shoulder when he was sacked in LSU's loss to Georgia in the Dec. 3
Southeastern Conference championship game.
Miles said Flynn made a strong impression in the preseason when
he competed with Russell for the starting job.
"Matt has a lot of ability and I think our team enjoys his
leadership and I think he'll play well," Miles said. "I think the
quarterback position will play well enough to win."
Miles said Russell will have more tests on his shoulder and can
focus on his rehabilitation in Baton Rouge.
"With the decision that he would not eventually be able to play
... it just became more important that we rehabilitate him most
effectively," Miles said.
When playing behind Russell against Georgia, Flynn completed
only 3 of 11 passes for 36 yards with a touchdown and an
Against North Texas this season, Flynn was 7-for-7 for 139 yards
and three touchdowns. He threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to track
star Bennie Brazell against Mississippi.
"I think just like when JaMarcus was first getting in there and
getting a lot of repetitions, the key is not to allow too much
pressure on our quarterback," offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth
"That's our job no matter who is in there, to make the game as
easy as possible for whoever is back there. With Matt that's going
to be our focus, to play the way we need to play and take the
pressure off him and let him play the way he needs to play and not
worry about anything else."