LSU Coach Ed Orgeron Excited By All Four Running Backs Tigers Will Utilize in 2020
The running back position has ebbed and flowed over the years at LSU but it's always remained consistent. You'll have the Leonard Fournette's, the Derrius Guice's or the Clyde Edwards-Helaire's of the world that will handle the bulk of the carries and put up statistically phenomenal numbers.
Then there are the years where Spencer Ware, Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard and Jeremy Hill split time on the field. In 2020, LSU seems to be leaning towards the latter unless someone can stand out above the pack when practices are officially allowed to reconvene.
LSU will have a pool of running backs to choose from this season with Orgeron and the coaching staff being on the same page of how to best utilize the group. Sophomores Chris Curry, Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery have little experience being bell cows at the college level.
Curry has the most experience, carrying the ball for 90 yards on 16 carries in the Tigers Peach Bowl win over Oklahoma in 2019. It was an impressive performance for a guy who many believed to be fourth on the depth chart for much of the season.
But for Curry, Davis-Price, Emery and even freshman newcomer Kevontre Bradford, in 2020 they will be asked to work as one, something that isn't always easy for young players looking to make names for themselves. That doesn't stop Orgeron from gushing about the talent each one possesses.
"Excited about Kevontre Bradford. He's kind of a silent guy, nobody knew about him," Orgeron said in an interview on "Off the Bench" on Tuesday. "We think he's going to be an excellent player. Excited about Chris Curry, the toughness that he brings. Tyrion (Davis-Price) looked good the other day. John Emery's electric. All four of those guys got different skill sets. "
Running backs coach Kevin Faulk said during the "Coaches Caravan" to expect that by committee approach at the start. He also cautioned that it should be pretty easy to tell which guys are prepared to take that next step and which aren't once practice resumes.
"First off, you will probably see a rotation early, unless a guy just breaks out from this point on into camp and shows he has been mature throughout the whole process," Faulk said. “Not being able to see the athletes, that is difficult for a coach. When they get here, it will be one of those things that will show very quickly.”
One of the most important qualities a running back group can have in a by committee approach is synergy. With LSU, there's a healthy balance of between the tackle power runners like Curry and Davis-Price and shifty with a hint of finesse runners like Emery and Bradford.
Though it was limited sample sizes, LSU wasn't afraid to get Emery and Davis-Price involved in the receiving game either as the two combined for 16 catches for 134 yards in 2019. If the two are able to show a little more improvement in that respect, it'll make the offense much more dynamic.
"Every one of them has some very positive skill sets and we plan on playing all of three of those guys," Orgeron said. "There are some things they need to get better at but just like Clyde kept on developing, I'm expecting one to have a breakout year. We've had one have a breakout year every year since we've been here."