LSU will be without freshman running back Armoni Goodwin to start the 2021 season, Ed Orgeron told reporters Wednesday.
Goodwin, who was taking advantage of many opportunities throughout fall camp, has a shoulder injury that could keep him out multiple weeks according to Wilson Alexander of The Advocate. That leaves the running back duties up to Tyrion Davis-Price, John Emery and Corey Kiner against UCLA.
Davis-Price is just returning from an injury that kept him in and out of fall practice but will be a full go come Saturday according to Orgeron. How the Tigers divvy up the running back reps will be interesting to follow as all three figure to be involved in some capacity.
The veterans Davis-Price and Emery were supposed to take control of the running back room but a combination of injury and the freshmen making a strong push has this position up in the air as kickoff against UCLA approaches. LSU started last season by giving Davis-Price and Emery individual series, where one back could get their feet wet instead of being substituted out every other play.
It's not really known what Jake Peetz's plan of attack will be but considering what we've heard about this offense all offseason, it's fair to surmise that substitutions will be a critical component of this offense.
At this point in their career's, Davis-Price has developed more as a between the line, bruising kind of runner while Emery has been a bit shiftier and utilized more in the passing game. This offseason, Emery had LASIK surgery which he said has really helped with seeing more lanes open up and become more consistent as a pass catcher.
“Mainly I worked on catching and route running,” Emery said. “Also reading coverages of the defense and different fronts. I mainly just want to be an all-around back, just knowing we were going to have the spread offense, Coach Peetz was going to come in and change it just a tad bit. I just wanted to make sure I could provide in every area.”
As for Kiner, Orgeron did hint that there would be a role for the freshman, who has impressed the staff this fall. How many opportunities he receives early in the season and how he performs could dictate how much he'll be relied on come SEC play. He's proven to be a dynamic runner, with a nice blend of power and elusivity that's drawn comparisons to Clyde Edwards-Helaire among his teammates.
With Goodwin expected to miss the early part of the season, Kiner will seize more of those reps early on that was expected to be divided between the two.
Davis-Price and Emery will likely see the majority of the snaps in the backfield and it'll be up to Peetz to put both in situations where they have the best chance at success. But this is a battle that will continue into the 2021 season with no clear rotation seemingly on the horizon.