The Tigers have relied on former walk-on running back Josh Williams to carry much of the load this season, and he’s thrived in the starting role, but what about the rest of this group?
Here’s a look at the current state of the LSU running back room:
Josh Williams - Junior
The former walk-on has seen his number called on a number of occasions, always providing the Tigers with key snaps when needed. Williams has seen his usage skyrocket this season. Rather than serve as the main third down back, he’s taken on starting duties, becoming the heartbeat of the backfield.
In a running back room that many expected to see either John Emery or Noah Cain as the starters, Williams has proven he is capable of doing more than the dirty work for this team, taking over starting duties over the last few weeks.
Look for Williams to continue battling it out for key snaps despite Noah Cain’s recent success. Earning a scholarship during his time with LSU, Williams has shown he’s willing to do the dirty work, showing his grit each and every time he steps on the field.
John Emery - Senior
Emery ended spring camp looking like a true RB1 for the Tigers. After missing the first few games of the season due to academics, this coaching staff has incorporated Emery in select situations this season, specifically when Goodwin went down.
Coming into spring, his entire body and demeanor changed. Looking bulked up and making smart decisions on the football field, Emery has all the makings of being the Tigers starter in their season opener against Florida State.
Though Emery’s usage is down, he remains an upbeat piece of this LSU offense. A few fumbles along the way have stunted his growth and progression, but head coach Brian Kelly has been adamant about him being a key piece to their offense.
Noah Cain - Junior
The first-year Tiger and Penn State transfer came to Baton Rouge with this coaching staff expecting big things. Throughout his stint in Happy Valley, Cain accumulated 806 rushing yards for 12 touchdowns along with 26 catches and 166 receiving yards in 24 games with the Nittany Lions.
But Cain hasn’t been used as anticipated so far until last weekend against UAB where he punched in three touchdowns. On the field in select moments, he’s shined when given opportunity, but it’s been a rollercoaster ride for him. He remains towards the bottom of the depth chart, and with such a loaded room, his opportunities have been limited, but with the news of Goodwin out for the season, we could see Cain take significant snaps as the season winds down.
As the end of the season nears, look for Kelly and this coaching staff to incorporate the Baton Rouge native in the offense a tad more. When given opportunity, he’s flourished, and can give a significant boost to this running back room as the season winds down.