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Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Flynn to start for LSU, which left Russell at home

Associated Press

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 interception.

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 said.

"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."