If you want an honest assessment of a pitcher’s stuff on the mound, talk to the hitters who climb into the box against him.
If you want to know about how hard a running back is to bring down, talk to the guys who try to tackle him.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron has been fanning the hype flames on freshman running back Chris Curry since before the Florida native got on campus this summer. The coach has repeatedly likened his running style to Marshawn Lynch, and Curry wears the No. 24 jersey to match.
Curry was one of the offensive standouts of LSU’s second preseason scrimmage on Saturday. He grinding out 35 yards on eight carries despite the defense winning the day, according to Orgeron, and did most of his legwork right up the gut.
“He showed some things today and made some plays,” Orgeron said. “Power runner. He can run the ball inside in between the tackles. Has enough speed to go outside, but I thought he lowered his shoulder pads and made a lot of runs in between the tackles today.”
Senior Nick Brossette and sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire are believed to be LSU’s top two backs heading into the season. Brossette is a patient zone runner while Edwards-Helaire is equal parts explosive and shifty. Curry could make it a trio and provide some good ole fashioned power.
Nose tackle Breiden Fehoko didn’t scrimmage Saturday due to some minor injuries, but he was impressed with what he saw from Curry.
He recalls a 15-yard gallop that got called back due to a holding penalty. Curry took another inside zone handoff on first-and-20 and ripped off another chunk run, according to Fehoko, making a man miss before dragging two would-be tacklers most of the way.
“I read a piece where somebody compared him to Marshawn Lynch,” Fehoko said. “I don’t know who said it, but I stand by that statement.”
The veteran defensive lineman continued: “When I see that, I say think ‘This dude is just a freshman?’ He’s strong. He’s hard to bring down. He has a lot of heart as a running back. That’s what you want. He doesn’t know how to avoid contact though. He’s always looking to run someone over. Coach tells him ‘Chris, you can’t run everybody over in this league.’”
Even All-American linebacker Devin White, a notoriously hard marker when it comes to offensive players, was impressed with Curry in fall camp. They’ve matched up in one-on-one drills, and White concedes the freshman hasn’t shied away from contact when they’ve collided in the hole.
“Baby Beast Mode,” White smiled. “That’s what he calls himself, and he runs extremely hard. I’m proud of him the way he’s come in. He’s a never-back-down type of guy, and he runs the ball with a lot of physicality.
“I feel like he belongs in the SEC. If he’d have went to any other conference, it would be too easy for him because no other conference is smash-mouth football like the SEC. He came to the right school because he’s going to get what he’s looking for.”
So here’s one of the most pressing question that comes to mind: does Curry like skittles as much as his battering ram of an idol?
That one will have to wait as true freshman aren’t made available to the media, per a longstanding LSU policy. Maybe he’d just give the “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” if he did do interviews.
LSU opens the season against Miami in Dallas on Sept. 2, so for now his running will have to do the talking for him.