|Old LSU teammates eager to face each other|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 September 2008 11:53|
Now they're very young and very promising players at a higher level, seeking their niche on two of the worst teams in the NFL.
That Kansas City and Oakland are old rivals probably means very little this week to Glenn Dorsey and JaMarcus Russell. Besides trying to win when the Chiefs host the Raiders on Sunday, they'll also be renewing an old acquaintance that dates back to a happy time when they faced each other day after day during practice at LSU.
``That's my partner,'' said Dorsey, the Chiefs' highly touted rookie defensive tackle. ``But hopefully he won't do too good here.''
third start for the Raiders. It'll also be his first road start, and in a stadium that historically has been very unkind to young quarterbacks.
``I'm going to call him tonight,'' Dorsey said after a midweek practice. ``We're going to talk it up. We're enemies come Sunday. But after the game we'll be cool again.''
Russell, 25-4 as LSU's starting quarterback, was a valued adviser to Dorsey when he was going through the draft. Both had high hopes the Raiders, with the fourth overall selection, would reunite two Louisiana pals. But Oakland went for running back Darren McFadden, leaving Dorsey for the lineman-hungry Chiefs to grab.
``Whatever it takes to get you ready for a game, you get ready,'' Dorsey said. ``If it's me being bitter 'cause the Raiders didn't pick me, then that's just what it will be. Whatever it takes to get you going, do it.''
Russell's pro career got a late start because of a lengthy holdout. But he threw two touchdown passes last week in a 41-14 season-opening loss to Denver. Dorsey had less than a spectacular debut with KC last week, getting credit for only one tackle in a 17-10 loss at New England.
Russell, too, was disappointed not to get to play with his old pal. But he's certain the Chiefs got a topflight tackle.
``I know he's a hard worker. He's going up against much more experienced guys,'' Russell said. ``You have to keep fighting, and that he does. It's going to be a lot of fun. I just can't wait until it happens and the day comes.''
Dorsey grins broadly when asked if his familiarity with an old friend might provide an advantage.
``I practiced with him for three years,'' Dorsey said. ``I think I've got a little edge. I know how to get him down. But he's a good quarterback. He's big like a defensive end. People don't think he can run, but he can fly. And he's got a cannon for an arm. You've got to get him.''
The game will actually be a reunion of three old LSU pals. The Chiefs' 2007 first-round pick, Dwayne Bowe, was a star wide receiver for the Tigers.
``I'll just take it one play at a time,'' Russell said. ``Even though we're going against each other, we still have, with him and Dwayne, a good relationship.''
History suggests Russell is in for a long day. The Chiefs are 21-4 against quarterbacks in their first or second year who are making their first start at Arrowhead.
``You have the world against you when you go away,'' said Russell. ``We just have to stick together as a team and dig down deep inside and tell ourselves this is what we want to do. Just pull it together.''
The Chiefs will start veteran backup Damon Huard at quarterback while Brodie Croyle rests his injured shoulder. But Huard is a proven performer who went 5-3 in eight starts two years ago when Trent Green got hurt.
``It's a huge benefit for us to have a backup guy who's been around forever,'' said tight end Tony Gonzalez. ``He's worked with us before. This is nothing new to him. He's not going to get rattled. I anticipate him going out there and getting the job done.''
Huard also has a history of finding Gonzalez, which means the crowd could see NFL history. Gonzalez needs only 123 yards to catch Shannon Sharpe for No. 1 on the all-time list for yards receiving by a tight end.
``I know he's going to look for me,'' said a grinning Gonzalez. ``But at the same time, he's a veteran who knows that defenses are going to key on me on certain plays and he's going to have to spread the ball around.''