7/25/17 5:40 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
In today’s report, we’ll continue to look at a few offensive players who will benefit most from Matt Canada’s new offense and touch on a variety of topics including recruiting and our Countdown to Game Day. Then, in closing, I’ll share a little tasty lagniappe. Here we go…
Five Tigers Who Could Benefit Most from LSU’s New-look Offense | Part 4
4. RBs Darrel Williams/Nick Brossette/Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Yeah, this is more than one guy, but this trio’s contributions lumped together loom as a major key for the offense under first-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Derrius Guice will be the go-to back and figures to be among the SEC leaders in carries/offensive touches and expected impact for an offense that should look much different. But for most, if not all, of the above to come into focus, the Tigers need some diversification on offense and that’s where the three other primary backs in the stable come into play.
Last season at Pitt, Canada had a proven go-to back in James Conner, and like Guice is expected to, he got most of the carries (216). But the Panthers also got contributions from several other backs as Canada utilized players’ different skills. Freshman Chawntez Moss got 42 carries, Darrin Hall ran 36 times and big back Qadree Ollison toted it 33 times.
The Tigers can mirror that collection of backs with arguably more talent.
Williams has slimmed down and gives Canada a bulldozer option inside. You have to figure Brossette is chomping at the bit to show what he can do with the dust on his shoulders from waiting in the wings and going through the grueling rehab of a knee injury. And Edwards-Helaire jumps into the “next great back” discussion from the beginning because of what he did at Catholic High once he stepped in for Guice. All of that swirled together — with the always-looming possibility that Guice could be slowed by injury and/or wear-and-tear — creates a lot of opportunities for the trio of backups.
With the diversity that Williams and Brossette provide, Edwards-Helaire could slide into a role similar to a third-down back in the NFL — a receiving threat out of the backfield who gives quarterback Danny Etling (or whoever it might be) a tantalizing safety-valve option in open space if defenses are able to take away other receiving threats.
Mike Detillier recently wrote in a Q&A with DandyDon.com that Williams is a one-cut blast runner and Edwards-Helaire is a shifty back who could excel as a receiver. Those attributes should compliment Guice well in Canada’s running back rotation.
In recruiting news, a day after Ja’Marr Chase shocked many with his pledge to Florida over LSU and TCU, another in-state wide receiver target committed out-of-state yesterday. This time it was John Ehret wide receiver Jammal Houston, the 19th ranked player on our list of Top LA Prospects. Houston would have been a solid get for LSU at a position of need and landing him would have lessened the sting of missing out on Chase, but I am not overly concerned. The word I’m getting is that Parkway’s Terrace Marshall, the No. 1 player on our list of in-state prospects, is still believed to be a strong lean to LSU and there are several other wide receiver targets on the board. In fact, just recently two four-star wide receivers named LSU in their final list of schools. Miles Battle (6-4, 188) of Houston (Cy Creek) announced that LSU is in his top-5 along with Ole Miss, TCU, Baylor, and Oregon, while Anthony Schwartz (6-0, 172) of Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) included LSU in his top-6 along with Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, and USC.
Mentioning Schwartz of American Heritage High School reminds me to give you an update on his teammate, 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain. As mentioned in a previous report, Surtain visited LSU last weekend. What I’ve heard is that Surtain was accompanied by both of his parents and the visit went very well. Surtain visited Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide the day before and that visit also reportedly went well, but the word I’m getting is that LSU is still his undisputed leader and will likely remain that way, thanks in large part to Corey Raymond being LSU’s cornerback coach. Raymond and Surtain’s father, Pat Sr., are close friends. Landing this elite cornerback, rated as the nation’s top overall player in the class of 2018, would be a major boost to LSU’s recruiting class which currently contains 20 commitments and is ranked No. 6 in 247Sports Team Rankings.
In other football-related news, The Advocate reported Monday that former LSU wide receiver Travin Dural passed his physical with the New Orleans Saints, allowing him to participate at the start of training camp. Dural was unable to pass the physical last week with a minor shoulder injury but has a nice track record of bouncing back from injuries. Dural recorded 280 receiving yards and a touchdown after rebounding from a gruesome hamstring injury in 2015. Hopefully, Dural remains healthy, makes waves at camp, and suits up in the black and gold this fall.
Now, with 39 days until LSU’s season opener against BYU at NRG Stadium, let’s conclude today’s update with our countdown to game day by remembering a 39-7 victory over Ole Miss in 1996. After snapping a six-year losing streak (1989-1994) in 1995, the 1996 squad was seeking to take it to the next level by winning an SEC championship. Unfortunately, the Tigers were dominated in Tiger Stadium against Alabama and fell to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. Facing Ole Miss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium the following week, it would have been easy for LSU to feel sorry for themselves and put in a subpar performance against the Rebels, but these Tigers were determined to make 1996 a special season.
Leading just 2-0 at halftime, the Tigers exploded for 37 second half points that included five rushing touchdowns, three from sophomore running back Kevin Faulk and two from sophomore quarterback Herb Tyler. Behind a defense that included stars such as linebacker Allen Stansberry, defensive linemen Chuck Wiley and Booger McFarland and defensive backs Raion Hill and Mark Roman, LSU suffocated Ole Miss’ offense all day limiting them to just 188 total yards (31 rushing) and forcing two turnovers. If not for a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown by the Rebels, the defense would have recorded its second SEC shutout of the season, the first being a 35-0 whitewash of Vanderbilt in Baton Rouge. Offensively, LSU tallied 474 yards, including 255 passing yards by Tyler that included 107 yards combined between tight ends David LaFleur and Nicky Savoie (Wouldn’t it be nice to see that kind of production from the tight ends in 2017!).
The Tigers would go on to win their final two regular season games, including a 17-7 victory in Little Rock against Arkansas in the first ever Battle for the Boot. With a 10-7 victory over Clemson in the Peach Bowl, LSU finished their season 10-2, the program’s first 10-win season since 1987 and just their second 10-win season in 35 years. The Tigers would certainly like another double-digit win season in 2017, which would be LSU’s first since 2013.
• Attention gymnastics fans, LSU has announced its 2018 gym schedule. The slate features meets against five of the 11 teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Championship as well as six meets inside the Maravich Center during the regular season. Times for each meet along with the television and streaming schedule will be released later this fall. For the full press release and a look at the schedule, click here.
• Lastly, as promised, I’ve added my recipe for Fried Shrimp to our collection of DandyDon Recipes. The shrimp I cooked that way last weekend, using Charles Alexander’s C’Mon Man seasoning, were outstanding and I look forward to trying his product again on these bass I caught yesterday. (Spoiler alert: My catch of fish was not overly impressive, but they’ll fry up nicely and it sure was good to get out there… so much so that I’m heading back out in just a minute for a real quick trip before heading back home.)
Have a great day, Tiger Fans.