Former Ole Miss and Saints quarterback Archie Manning, interviewed Wednesday morning on “Culotta & The Prince” on 104.5/104.9 ESPN in Baton Rouge, talked about the Saints, his fondest memories of playing LSU and how Les Miles may be a victim of his own success. Listen to the inverview here.
Q. What are some of your thoughts about the Saints this year?
A. I’m like a lot of people, I’m disappointed.
I knew starting out that the Saints were going to play a lot of young people. They were going kind of change it up, their concept, things they do. But I thought, looking at their schedule, especially after mid-season, that their schedule was such that everything would come right ... they’re going to have a good offense.
And they’re just having a problem stopping people. So everyone’s disappointed. There’s still time to settle down and win some games.
Q. I don’t know if you saw the article Scott Rabalais wrote in The Advocate this morning about Les Miles being on thin ice and the possibility he’s got to win the next two games. What’s your take on that?
A. I didn’t read the article, but I don’t buy that. Les has recruited too many players, has won too many games there. You lose a couple of games ... hey, it’s college football. Also, it’s the SEC West. Now I know a lot’s expected, but Les is a victim of his own success. You lose two tough conference games but, shoot, the job that he’s done ...
Q. Your first game against LSU was 1967 as a freshman. What are your fondest memories of playing LSU?
A. This generation doesn’t understand freshman football. In those days, you could sign 40 people and then you had a ton of walk-ons. We went the whole year, just us, practicing against each other.
And you don’t play but four games. Basically, it’s kind of a year of just getting freshmen ready. To be honest with you, I think the goal was to run some off. You make it really tough, cause they really don’t need that many players. We were glad to finally play a game after all this practice, lot of hitting, lot of running.
LSU had a really good freshman team. Some Tiger fans will remember this name, they had a quarterback named Butch Duhe ... really good quarterback out of New Orleans. And Mike Anderson was the linebacker. Tough guy. Really great, great football player.
The history of the tradition was LSU freshmen always beat Ole Miss freshmen. And Ole Miss says the reason was Coach (Charlie) McClendon let their freshmen go against the varsity, so they were further along. That may be the case, but they sure beat us.
I just remember playing aginst LSU that day. We had to play both ways, and I didn’t weigh but about 165 pounds. I didn’t do very well at quarterback. I really didn’t do well at free safety either, but I did intercept a pass in the fourth quarter. So that was about the only good thing that happened that day.
Q. When you look at the LSU-Ole Miss rivalry, is this rivalry as big now as it was back then? Or do you think it’s kind of diminished somewhat?
A. I don’t think it’s quite as big as it was back then. You go back when I was 10 years old, and Billy Cannon made his run, I would say it was the top rivalry in the south and one of the best rivalries in the country. It was just huge. Both teams were really good.
It probably fell off when Ole Miss, years later, didn’t hold up their end of it and kind of slipped in the SEC. And then in recent years, of course, I think the LSU-Alabama rivalry has been such a big thing.
Ole Miss people really do love to come to Tiger Stadium and I think a lot of LSU people, like other SEC fans, like to come to Oxford. So, it’s a great rivalry between two fantastic schools.
Q. Since LSU didn’t get Payton or Eli, can we get one of the grandkids?
A. (Laughing) We’ll see in a couple of years.