BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU running back Nick Brossette is inspired by a pair of linebackers.
Deion Jones and Duke Riley both played as reserves in their first three years at LSU before breaking out as seniors. Now both are rising stars for the Atlanta Falcons.
Brossette is on a similar path, looking to become LSU’s starting running back with a mere 46 carries over the last three seasons.
“I have a close relationship with them, and I look at all four years they were here and what they did with that,” Brossette said. “I think I can do the same thing.”
For sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the inspiration derives from a more obvious source. Edwards-Helaire followed in Derrius Guice’s foosteps at Baton Rouge (La.) Catholic High, and now he’s in the same position at LSU.
In fact, Edwards-Helaire has been Guice’s sidekick all the way back to when he was an 8-year-old pee-wee player.
“In high school it was him leading the way and showing the ropes,” Edwards-Helaire said. “If it was inside zone, ‘Hey Clyde, you have to watch how the linebackers flow.’ That’s something that always stuck with me.
“Here, it was being patient and realize when you get your chance you have to make it happen. That’s something he displayed his first year being here.”
Edwards-Helaire improbably took Guice’s success to another level when he was in high school, leading Catholic to the first state title in school history. Now he’ll try to do something similar at LSU.
Inexperienced? Nah… ‘Non-game experienced’
The numbers are daunting.
LSU is replacing its top-2 rushers for the first time since 2010. It’s the first time since 1969 that the Tigers are replacing their top-3 returning rushers, since wide receiver Russell Gage rushed for more yards last season than actual running backs Brossette and Edwards-Helaire.
“I’m not going to say we’re inexperienced,” Edwards-Helaire said. “But we’re non-game experienced running backs.”
Edwards-Helaire had 9 carries for 31 yards and 3 receptions for 46 yards last season. Brossette did not play until the regular-season finale against Texas A&M after opening LSU’s eventual loss to Troy with a fumble on the first play of the game, drawing Ed Orgeron’s ire. He finished the season with 19 carries for 96 yards.
Orgeron wasn’t exactly brimming with enthusiasm at the opening of spring practice.
“Until we find a featured back, the offense will not be featured by our running back,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to throw the football.”
This spring, Brossette and Edwards-Helaire — as well as junior Lanard Fournette and freshman Tae Provens — are out to prove that LSU does have a feature back. If they don’t, summer enrollee Chris Curry will try to pick up the slack.
Edwards-Helaire believes someone in the room is up to the task. Back in 2010, Stevan Ridley stepped up as LSU’s feature back after carrying the ball 57 times in his first two seasons. He rushed for more than 1,100 yards and got picked in the third round of the NFL draft.
“Everyone in this program is competitive,” Edwards-Helaire said. “Whoever proves himself is going to get the spot. It’s just lighting a fire in each of us to display our talents and not let outside forces determine what is going to happen.”
Because of LSU’s strong history at the position, no one wants to let 2018 be known as the year the Tigers don’t have a running back.
“We know we have to hold that torch up,” Edwards-Helaire said. “Jeremy [Hill], Leonard [Fournette]. Being able to fill those shoes is something we know has to be lived up to in that room.”
The post Nick Brossette and Clyde-Edwards Helaire inspired by former LSU stars appeared first on SEC Country.
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