Back in 2014, Leonard Fournette was the number one recruit and did not fail to impress on the college level. In the coming 2017 NFL Draft, either Dalvin Cook of Florida State, or Fournette should be the top Running Back picked.
A lot of people were saying last year, that Fournette should sit out a season so as to not be seriously injured in the 2016 season. But, all of that came to screeching halt in the Alabama game of last season. The thinking that Fournette was any less for being bottled up that season is bizarre, in my opinion, because Alabama was the national champs and they were keying on him the entire game. LSU had little to speak of in the passing game, and Bama’s plan was clearing to make the Tigers beat them through the air and not on the ground. Fournette was a sitting duck, with fans and the media
having a field day over it.
As a Heisman candidate, Fournette never rebounded from that.
During the 2016 season, Fournette was hampered by an injury that just wouldn’t go away. His season was the worst of his three years at LSU and he only lugged the ball for 843 yards. That was after running for 1,953 yards and 22 Touchdowns as a sophomore. That included one canceled game and the 31 yard performance against Alabama. He could have easily cracked the 2,000 yard barrier.
The only bright side for a less than Fournette like year in 2016 was the emergence of back up, Derrius Guice.
The best description of Derrius Guice carrying the ball might be he just runs angry. Guice runs so hard and hits the hole with not a single thought of fear and he keeps those legs pumping and he just absolutely refuses to go down. It’s really hard for one guy to bring Derrius Guice to the ground.
He’s one of the more determined runner I have seen in years. He’s a guy that you like to watch if you are a fan of the LSU Tigers. If you are playing the LSU Tigers, you hold your breath until the referee’s whistle blows.
He’s exciting and he’s dangerous.
The LSU Tigers have played several Running Backs throughout the game for quite a few years now. They have several Running Backs playing in the NFL that were not starters at LSU which is really impressive and telling about the kind of talent they have had at that position.
Filling in for Leonard Fournette in 2016, Guice was truly outstanding. Every college team in the
country should wish they had a second team guy this talented.
Guice ran for 1,387 yards and 15 Touchdowns and averaged 7.58 yards per carry. His best games were against Arkansas and Texas A%M going for well over 200 yards against each of them.
Against Arkansas he ran for 252 yards and 2 Touchdowns while averaging 12 yards per carry. While against the Aggies, he ran for 285 yards and 4 Touchdowns.
As a true freshman in the 2015 season, Guice passed talented Darrel Williams and another true freshman, Nick Brossette, to become the Tigers main relief guy for Fournette. Immediately, Guice showed that same determination, strength, speed and overall talent that he demonstrated this season. He averaged a rather impressive 8.55 yards per carry on 51 carries to gain 436 yards and score 3 Touchdowns.
Fournette is slightly bigger at 230 pounds, but Guice is a healthy 215 which isn’t all that much less. The case could be made that with his running style that Guice could be every bit as good as the talented Leonard Fournette.
2016 was something of a strange season overall for the LSU Tigers. Not only was Leonard Fournette injured for most of the season, but the Tigers fired long time head coach Les Miles. Replacing him as interim coach was Ed Orgeron. Even though Orgeron lost as many games as Miles did including being shut down by Alabama which matched the previous regime, LSU fans seemed to be happy with the transition.
After the season, Orgeron was named the official head coach for the LSU Tigers.
Under Miles, the Tigers always had a great running game. But, the passing game has been dismal in
recent seasons. LSU fans blamed Miles and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron and honestly, they had a legitimate beef. The Tigers have an incredible group of Wide Receivers and have recruited really great athletes at the position for years. Even with a good Offensive Line, the Tigers struggled to get the ball to the likes of Malachi Dupre, D. J. Chark and Travin Dural at Wide Receiver. A few great Tiger receivers transferred out of the program recently.
Since Zach Mettenberger graduated after the 2013 season, the Tigers have been unable to throw the football consistently. They tried Anthony Jennings, Brandon Harris and then Purdue transfer Danny Etling. With Etling getting benched at Purdue and getting replaced by a freshman, David Blough, that might be pretty telling for the Quarterback situation at LSU.
Going into the 2017 season with a new Offensive Coordinator the Tigers will open up the Quarterback competition between Etling and Brandon Harris. Quarterback is up in the air for the 2017 season.
But, the Running Back position at LSU is all Derrius Guice.
Is he better than Leonard Fournette? Maybe, but next season should tell us more.