After the Spring: Talent pool still overflowing after departure of Hester in Tiger backfield
1,2,3 punch for the Tigers in ‘08?
by Matt Reynolds
Tiger Rag Assistant Editor
With the book now closed on “The Legend of Jacob Hester” in Baton Rouge, what should fans expect to see from the LSU Tiger backfield in ’08?
The answer is: much of the same.
Don’t expect the backfield to look a whole lot different. LSU still has the bruisers in Keiland Williams and Charles Scott, and you can even add a new addition to that category with redshirt freshman Stevan Ridley.
In addition to these bowling ball’s that also display great speed, you have the nimble explosive back in Richard Murphy, who absolutely slaughtered the defense in the spring game.
Also, you can’t leave out fullback Quinn Johnson, who had a phenomenal spring. Look for the outstanding blocker to catch for passes out of the backfield in ’08.
Williams has been a bit of an enigma to LSU fans over his first couple of seasons with the Tigers. He has, without a doubt, shown flashes of greatness, but has also struggled in some situations to pick up the tough yards on a consistent basis. And it’s no question his spring game performance didn’t help his campaign to become the Tigers go-to guy. Williams started out solid last Saturday, picking up 38 yards on five carries early in the first quarter, but a fumble inside the ten-yard-line going in forced the junior to view the rest of the scrimmage from the sidelines.
“I thought Keiland Williams had some nice carries,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “But anybody that throws the ball on the ground around here, they don’t plan on playing a lot. That’s exactly why he didn’t come back into the game.”
Scott was forced to miss the spring game due to an ankle injury he suffered at a previous scrimmage. Besides the injury Scott looks to be in tremendous shape and could provide the 2-yard power punch that left with Hester. It’s no question Scott also has that breakaway speed to take it to the house on any carry. The Jonesboro native may be the total package at running back.
It’s almost inevitable that Murphy gets more touches this season. The explosive back only touched the ball 35 times in all of last season, but was averaging over six yards per carry. His three touchdown, 200-yard plus performance in the spring game has made Murphy the most talked about Tiger in the backfield after the spring.
“Richard Murhpy is an elusive back with great vision,” Miles said. “There are some things he needs to get squared away but I think he’s going to be a nice back. It’s really interesting to see, I think the one place where we had really good numbers, we had a pretty good defensive line in the spring game.”
Ridley – a stocky running back that demolished the Mississippi Private School Association in high school – picked up 44 yards on eight carries in the spring game and pleased Miles with his effort running the ball.
“I think Ridley showed some nice signs today,” Miles said after the spring game.
And let’s not leave out track-star Trindon Holiday. He missed the spring, competing in LSU track events and trying to qualify to make it to Beijing for this summers Olympic games, but you can be certain offensive coordinator Gary Crowton will find a way to work the speedster into the playbook this summer.
Despite the loss of an amazing contributor such as Hester, the talent pool is still overflowing at LSU in ’08.