Player of the Week: Offense
Ware carries offensive attack still lacking passing flair
By RICHARD FISCHER
Tiger Rag Assistant Editor
The Spring Game has been a break out game for LSU’s running backs in recent years.
Last year, Michael Ford led all rushers with 139 yards on 19 carries.
Two years ago, Charles Scott found the end zone twice and ran for 70 yards.
However, each failed to enjoy that same level of success in the succeeding regular season as Ford and Scott combined for only 816 yards and seven touchdowns in their subsequent seasons.
That’s the trend that 2011 Spring Game breakout back Spencer Ware wants to buck after scoring two touchdowns with 94 yards on 13 carries.
The soon to be sophomore started the game for the White team, and he made his presence felt immediately with a 23-yard run down to the Purple team’s three-yard line on the first drive.
“My offensive line just got the hole open, and I tried to take the ball to daylight, letting the play develop,” said the back.
Ware capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run on the next play to give the White team an early 7-0 lead.
And after scoring on the White’s first possession, Ware finished off his day with a touchdown on White’s last possession, an 18-yard scamper up the middle on what would become the last play of the game.
The back attributes his success in the Spring Game to a greater understanding of LSU’s blocking schemes - something running backs coach Frank Wilson emphasizes.
“We learn the concepts of the film and the blocking schemes, so we have that trust in our linemen,” said Ware. “That’s what I did, and I found the crease and took off.”
But it wasn’t just Ware’s rushing that has Tiger fans giddy about the future of this young man.
The soon to be sophomore showed he could be a receiving threat as well, catching two passes for 50 yards Saturday.
One of which was a 46-yard completion on a wheel route, where he had to make an adjustment on an underthrown Jordan Jefferson pass with Purple linebacker Lamin Barrow closing in on Ware quickly.
“I have to give it up to Rueben Randle for picking the linebacker very well, coming tight off his hip and up the sideline,” said Ware. “Jordan got flushed out the pocket, didn’t quite see me. I’m back there like waving my hands, and he just threw it up there and gave me a chance. If you give me a chance, I’m going go get it every single time.”
New offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe split Ware out at receiver and moved wide receiver Russell Shepard into the backfield at running back quite often Saturday. By not taking Ware out of the game, it allows LSU to put Shepard in the backfield without giving a no-RB look in the huddle.
With spring football drawing to a close, Ware hopes he can take his receiving talents to the outfield in Alex Box Stadium.
That’s because Ware will be moving back to the baseball diamond to rejoin Paul Mainieri’s group.
And even after a grueling four-week spring football session, the dual sport athlete said he wouldn’t even take a day off, hitting the batting cages Sunday morning.
“Early in the morning I’m going to go down to the batting cages get some hacks in, get some throws in, work some base running and try to get back out there as quick as I can, because my team needs me right now,” said Ware.
The dual sport athlete expects to suit up for the Tigers on Tuesday against Northwestern St., and he ought to be a nice mid-season acquisition for a struggling club right now.
He will likely be LSU’s top pinch runner if Trey Watkins is in the starting lineup, and Ware went three-for-seven at the plate before leaving the team for spring football four weeks ago.