Forget QBs, LSU running back battle is best competition this spring

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Gaining position

As is only natural, LSU’s quarterback competition is the talk of the town. The fight between Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan to win LSU’s starting quarterback job is intense, and fans want to know about it.

But let’s be real: LSU isn’t going to name a starting quarterback this spring. Zero chance. Running back, on the other hand?

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To put it plainly, the LSU running back competition is far more interesting. Why? Because there’s an immediacy to it. LSU coach Ed Orgeron won’t give any of his three quarterbacks an inch in the competition; every time he’s asked, he says all three are about equal. But at running back? Orgeron gives a status report after every practice.

One day Nick Brossette looks good. The next, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a star. Two days later, Tae Provens is playing great. This is a horse race without a Secretariat. Every time you look down, there’s a new leader. And that’s compelling.

Not to mention the stakes. The last time LSU’s leading rusher by attempts didn’t end up as a fixture in the NFL was Charles Scott in 2009. The winner of this competition isn’t just taking over for Derrius Guice. He’s also stepping in for Leonard Fournette, Jeremy Hill, Spencer Ware and Stevan Ridley. That’s quite a lineage.

Then, there’s the immediacy. Unlike quarterback, LSU could plausibly name a starting running back this spring. Sure, Chris Curry doesn’t enroll until summer. But if Orgeron and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger find a guy they like this spring, they’ll name him a leader. Heck, Orgeron already called Brossette his starter for now, a mantle he isn’t willing to put on any one quarterback.

These running backs play vastly different styles. Brossette is a classic three-down runner. Edwards-Helaire is a bowling ball who can block and catch. Provens is a speedy back with the height of a receiver. This is a fun, varied bunch. And this competition deserves more attention than it’s getting.

Practice observations

Running backs are a ton of fun. Orgeron went out of his way on Thursday to rave about Edwards-Helaire’s practice and remark on Provens’ growth as a player. But this isn’t the only position with news. Here are some observations from practice Thursday:

  • For the second practice in a row, sophomore safety Grant Delpit didn’t participate. Afterward, Orgeron said he expects Delpit back in “a week or two.”
  • Alongside Delpit out of pads sat cornerbacks Kristian Fulton and Kary Vincent. Fulton is entrenched in an eligibility battle, while Vincent runs track in the spring.
  • No player has caught Orgeron’s attention this spring more than junior college transfer offensive lineman Damien Lewis. Lewis isn’t starting yet on the Tigers’ O-line, but he’s competing for a spot at guard and potentially center.

A day of mourning

The sports world lost some larger-than-life figures on Thursday, with New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and legendary college baseball coach Augie Garrido both passing away. LSU nation couldn’t help but honor those who passed on with stories of their memories.

First, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri told the story of the first time he met Garrido and a moment the two shared while competing against one another for the 2009 College World Series.

Then, Orgeron sent his thoughts and prayers to Benson’s family and the New Orleans Saints organization, for which he worked after being fired by Ole Miss.

ICYMI

While you were watching March Madness on Thursday, LSU news kept going on. In case you missed any of it, here’s the scoop:

Your weekly non-revenue LSU sports preview

What’s going on in LSU athletic this weekend? Plenty:

  • The LSU baseball team hosts Missouri for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. This is LSU’s first SEC series of 2018, kicking off a two-month gauntlet on the way to Hoover, Ala.
  • The sixth-seeded LSU women’s basketball team opens NCAA Tournament action on Saturday with a fight against Central Michigan at 10:20 a.m. CT. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
  • No. 2 LSU gymnastics hosts Arizona on Saturday for the final home meet of the 2018 season. This matchup will function as the Tigers’ last regular-season meet before the SEC championships and also as senior day for Myia Hambrick, Erin Macadaeg and Lauren Li.
  • Beach volleyball is competing in the Gamecock Grand Slam in Columbia, S.C., against Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Pepperdine and South Carolina.
  • Softball travels to Kentucky for a three-game SEC series this weekend, looking to extend the team’s undefeated start to SEC play.

Today in made-up holidays

Let’s end the week on a light note with a good, old-fashioned animal holiday.

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, March 16 is National Panda Day. Which is cool. Because pandas look cute and cuddly and nice and no one should ever think otherwise, even though these animals are technically bears.

So, if you encounter a panda, don’t run. Because you’re probably at a zoo. And running at zoos is weird.

Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns  right here.

The post Forget QBs, LSU running back battle is best competition this spring appeared first on SEC Country.

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