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blacksaint 09-14-2007 09:00 PM

Ryan at the ready: Perrilloux could get his chance Saturday
By Glenn Guilbeau
Louisiana Gannett News

BATON ROUGE — Could this be a Ryan Perrilloux Saturday night?
Or will senior Matt Flynn continue to start and play quarterback for LSU against Middle Tennessee despite suffering an ankle injury last Saturday that has caused him to miss a lot of practice this week?

Perrilloux, a highly recruited sophomore who has barely played until this season, has taken most of the practice snaps this week and has looked very good in brief appearances in LSU's two games this season. Flynn has played very well, too, and is No. 5 in the Southeastern Conference in passing efficiency.

Among the few who know who will be at quarterback Saturday is coach Les Miles, but when it comes to injuries he tends to changes plays at the line of scrimmage, so to speak.

MONDAY — "I don't think that his injury is a real worry at this point," Miles said at his press luncheon. "We have taken some precautionary steps by giving him the day off."

TUESDAY — "I think he'll be able to go, no question. We figure he'll be available to us," Miles said on WWL Radio after Flynn practiced briefly with a brace on his ankle.

WEDNESDAY MORNING — "We would expect that Matt would be able to play without question. We're really just trying to give him some time off of it," Miles said on the Southeastern Conference media teleconference.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT — "He was out there, threw a couple more balls, looks like he's rounding into shape," Miles said to local reporters after practice. "It will be day-to-day. If we feel like his rehabilitation, his progress will be slowed (by playing), the choice then is whether or not he can play at a strong enough level for us to win. If he can, then he plays. If not, then we wait. If he can demonstrate his abilities Thursday, that's good. Sometimes though — I've got to be honest with you — a guy plays a little bit during the week, and yet it's not really clear until we get to game time. And it becomes a game day decision. I've done both."

Miles was not available Thursday, and LSU's sports information office would not confirm if Flynn practiced.

Miles does not like giving out much information on injuries for game plan purposes. He doesn't want his opponent to react to an injured player or lack of an injured player in game preparation. At his first press conference as LSU's coach in 2005, Miles said he would be "evasive" with the truth concerning injuries.

Meanwhile, Miles' confidence in Perrilloux has grown significantly since he suspended the oft-troubled quarterback. Last spring Perrilloux was cited by Baton Rouge Police for attempting to enter a local gambling casino with his older brother's driver's license. Miles considered kicking Perrilloux off the team because this was one more in a string of incidents. Perrilloux had been questioned by federal authorities late last year for his involvement in a counterfeiting probe in his hometown of LaPlace. He also missed meetings, class and weight lifting sessions in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Since being reinstated when practice began last month, though, Perrilloux has been no problem.

"When it looked like football may be taken away, it allowed him to focus and do the things that he knows he needs to do," Miles said Wednesday. "It was a matter of being a young guy and not necessarily understanding what makes you successful. It's been a tremendously positive and productive period of time since he got in trouble this summer.

"So I suspect he understands that the only way for him to have success in this program is to do things like go to class and do all the things right both on and off the field. He's been doing that. He's been a good student. As long as he does that, we're in great shape."

He's also been playing some excellent quarterback. In two games, Perrilloux has completed 7 of 8 passes for 105 yards with touchdown passes of 34, 28 and 15 yards. He has also rushed for 33 yards on seven carries with a 3-yard touchdown.

"I'm so excited about Saturday, absolutely," East St. John coach Larry Dauterive said. "I don't know the extent of Matt's injury and he's been playing phenomenal too, but I think Ryan's going to play a lot. He's been playing great. He's looked like what I coached."

Perrilloux threw for 3,456 yards and rushed for 1,460 as a senior at East St. John and was named a Parade All-American and USA Today's offensive player of the year.

"He's in a zone," Dauterive said. "He's a phenomenal athlete. He's freaky. He scored 67 touchdowns as a senior. He runs like a tailback. He's got that quick release. He's got eyes in the back of his head. I can't wait to see him play. I'm so thankful Les gave him another chance. He could've easily pulled the plug."

Wide receiver Early Doucet is impressed.

"I was so open on that touchdown (34 yards from Perrilloux) because the defense bit on the run," Doucet said. "Ryan faked the run so well. He sold it. He's been playing great. Both quarterbacks have been playing great."

Perrilloux has not been available to media since returning to the team, but he spoke to Dauterive this week.

"It's easy. I felt like I was back in high school," Dauterive said Perrilloux told him. "There's been a 180-degree turn in that child. He's pumped because he's playing. Sometimes when you know you're not going to play, it's hard to stay focused."

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