Running back tandems usually get or give themselves a nickname.
Multiple duos have used terms like “Shake and Bake” and “Thunder and Lightning” to describe how the two have different attributes that contribute so success as a whole.
LSU running backs Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire have a different nickname that they took to after seeing multiple news outlets across the area and the country use it to describe LSU’s running game prior to the start of the season.
“They called us ‘the big question mark,’” Brossette said. “We used that as motivation.
“Everybody was writing about it before the season. Everybody didn’t know about us. I guess we’re just starting to wake them up now.”
There’s little question about what kind of impact the two have had on LSU’s 6-1 start to the season now.
Brossette quickly established himself as a presence with a big game in the season opener against Miami, and he hasn’t slowed down since, averaging 91.4 yards per game and getting in the end zone nine times.
It didn’t take much longer before Edwards-Helaire began getting involved in a big way, and he’s become more a part of the offense by the week. He currently has 475 yards thanks to a team-best 5.3 yards per carry (for players with more than 10 touches) and five touchdowns.
The two complement each other well, with Brossette showing the patience and strength needed to run effectively between the tackles and Edwards-Helaire’s speed that allows him to get around the corner, often for big plays.
“We have certain plays that they run very well, and we let them run those plays,” said LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. “Obviously Clyde is a good zone runner. Nick is more inside. That doesn’t mean Clyde can’t run inside. If I say that, he’s going to get mad at me, because he can run inside.”
Orgeron was right. Edwards-Helaire wouldn’t like it if he said that.
He also doesn’t think the previous designation of “scat back” fits him, either, considering his ability to break tackles and get generate yards after contact. After pondering it and fielding a suggestion, he settled on “all-purpose” as the most appropriate to describe his running style.
“I guess I got put in the scat back category because of the other backs we have on the team,” Edwards-Helaire said. “I can break tackles. That’s been my thing since high school.
“The scat back word probably gets tossed in there because I can find the open seams and the little cutbacks that other backs can’t see. I can get back into them and squeeze through them.”
Regardless of what rushing archetype Edwards-Helaire falls under, he can be described as effective. He and Brossette have already surpassed the 1,000 yards rushing mark as a tandem, and they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Against Georgia, which entered Saturday’s game as one of the most highly-touted defensive fronts in the country, Edwards-Helaire tallied 145 yards on 19 carries, including a 47-yard run that put the Tigers inside the 10 yard line.
Nick Brossette, who ran for 64 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries said he was going to have to give his younger counterpart a hard time for getting caught from behind, especially considering how often the roles are reversed in that situation.
“I’m going to joke with him now because he always jokes with me about getting caught,” Brossette said. “I got a lot of jokes for him now. I can’t wait.”
Despite their two different running styles – or perhaps because of them – the two Baton Rouge natives have now made a name for themselves at their hometown university, and they will likely now be connected to each other in the minds of LSU fans for years to come.
In short, people consider them a question mark on the offense anymore.
“They do different things,” Orgeron said. “We have different packages for each of them. I would see them as equal now.”