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LSU Spring Football 2019: Running Backs

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There are some big names on the way, but the backs LSU has on hand now want to state their case for the fall.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - LSU v Central Florida Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

LSU’s running game took a step back in 2018. That feels a little weird to say for a group of tailbacks that still had a 1,000-yard rusher and finished with more than 2,000 yards as a team and had 29 touchdowns.

But the 4.01 team yards-per-carry average was the lowest since 2012. There were multiple components to the problem — particularly a shuffling offensive line — but there’s no denying that the overall talent just wasn’t what we’ve been used to out of LSU backfields in recent years.

And likewise, this unit isn’t likely to become settled until stud freshmen John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price arrive in the summer. That said, the players on hand will certainly have the opportunity to make a case for a role in the fall.

LSU Running Backs, Spring 2019

Position Player Ht/Wt Rushes Yards TD Yards/ Carry Hlt Yds/ Opp. Opp. Rate Fumbles (Lost) Misc.
Position Player Ht/Wt Rushes Yards TD Yards/ Carry Hlt Yds/ Opp. Opp. Rate Fumbles (Lost) Misc.
Running Backs 22 Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Jr.) 5-8, 212 146 658 7 4.5 3.99 47.30% 0 (0) 11 catches (14 targets) for 96 yards.
27 Lanard Fournette (Sr.) 5-10, 206 12 106 1 8.8 13.3 41.70% 0(0) 6 catches (11 targets) for 55 yards.
24 Chris Curry (Fr.-RS) 6-0, 219 8 2 Redshirted
Fullbacks/H-Backs 44 Tory Carter (So.) 6-2, 259 Recorded no rushing attempts, but caught 4 passes (on 6 targets) for 39 yards and 1 touchdown.
Returning starters in bold.

Freshman tailback Tae Provens has elected to transfer. He was never able to find a role last year, and would likely have been passed up by Emery and Davis-Price.

What’s Good?

While there’s no actual starter returning, Clyde Edwards-Helaire has equivalent experience after splitting time with Nick Brossette last season. He isn’t necessarily the workhorse type, but he proved his value in spots, including a 145-yard performance against No. 2 Georgia last year.

He also offers the offense more of a space player — somebody with some value as a receiver. And expanding the screen game is something the coaches would definitely like to do.

Junior Lanard Fournette showed the ability to offer another option in that regard as well.

Freshman Chris Curry never seemed to find a groove in limited carries his redshirt year, and always seemed to come in when the offensive line was ready to fall apart. But I still think he can find a spot as a short-yardage specialist.

Fullback Tory Carter is back as well. He was one of the more versatile parts of the offense last year, playing both a traditional fullback spot as well as more of a tight end. He’s an attitude player that the offense definitely seems to feed off.

What’s Bad?

The simple fact is there’s nobody here that has proven they can be more than a specific role player. And it’s never ideal to come into a situation where you know you’ll be depending on true freshmen.

What’s the goal for this unit in the spring?

Players like Edwards-Helaire and Curry both have something to prove this season, and want to show that the newbies in the summer will have to displace them if they want carries. Curry is somebody I’m watching. I was very high on him as a hard-running recruit, and I still think he can show some value after a season of development.