LSU trending toward running back by committee

LSU trending toward running back by committee
LSU running back Chris Curry (No. 24) runs toward linebacker Jabril Cox (No. 19) during the first week of fall camp. (Source: Brandon Gallego)


LSU head coach Ed Orgeron says his team is excited about their first competition Tuesday, and one position that we should be paying particular attention to is running back, where the competition seems as close as its ever been.

Gone is Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who excelled at everything on every down. Instead, LSU has a trio of backs in Chris Curry, John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price that all do some things better than others.

“I could see, especially in the beginning of the year, using all three backs and maybe four,” says Orgeron.

The question is, who emerges? Of that group that group of three, it’s Davis-Price and his 10 touchdowns that had the most opportunity behind Edwards-Helaire in 2019. But in one of the biggest games of the year, the playoff semifinal against Oklahoma, it was Curry that made his case to step into the starting role, leading the way with 16 carries for 90 yards while Edwards-Helaire dealt with an injury.

“I think that gives him some confidence and motivation for this year,” says Orgeron. “And he also can use Clyde as an example. Last year, nobody thought that Clyde would have the year that he had besides his teammates and his coaches, and he even surpassed that.”

Then there’s Emery, whose versatility makes him stand out from the crowd as well.

“(He) came in as a great talent and great young man right there from Destrehan,” says Orgeron. (He) was the top running back in the country. (He) had some ball security issues last year. (He) has not had those ball security issues this year. He’s catching the ball very well out of the backfield."

However, when it comes to deciding who’s in the game in certain situations, Orgeron says that may work itself out naturally.

“If a back is hot, and he’s having a great game, we’re not going to take him out,” says Orgeron. “I want our guys to do do what they do best, whether it be catching the ball, blocking, outside runs, inside runs. Let’s use the running back that can do that skill the best. When the ball is in the red zone, I want the ball in the best player’s hands, whoever that player may be.”

Right now, having to choose between three very talented backs is a good problem to have. But sooner or later, one should rise above the rest. Either way, the football cliche that reads “iron sharpens iron” means LSU’s backfield is in good shape.

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