HOOVER — Derrius Guice is LSU’s tremendously talented junior running back, projected to be one of the top running backs in the country.
Guice, who played largely in former Leonard Fournette’s shadow for two seasons, has two career carries against the University of Alabama defense. Those carries netted a total of 8 yards.
Yet, following Alabama’s 10-0 win over LSU in Tiger Stadium last season, Guice labeled the Crimson Tide’s defense as “scared” of the Tigers’ running game.
“Alabama always stacks 10 people in the box to stop us,” he told reporters last year. “They’re scared as well.”
Given a chance, in a less emotionally charged atmosphere, to clarify those comments Monday at SEC Media Days, Guice doubled down.
“That’s what I said,” the talented back said. “Like I said last year, every time we were about to run, they have, like, the whole box loaded.”’
During Alabama’s six-game winning streak over LSU, the Tigers have averaged 2.03 yards per carry, including 1.2 yards per carry in 2016.
It seems everyone in Baton Rouge is a little defensive on the subject of Alabama, the metaphorical elephant in the room in the SEC West. Six straight losses dating back to the 2012 BCS National Championship Game has the entire fan base and program at large on edge.
During spring meetings in May, LSU coach Ed Orgeron labeled UA as the “benchmark.” He repeated those sentiments during his remarks at SEC Media Days.
A win over the Crimson Tide would certainly bolster his standing.
“Last year was a tight game,” Orgeron said. “It was 0-0 going into the third quarter. Their quarterback made two plays. We didn’t. I don’t know if it’s that big of a gap. I think we need to play our football.
“Obviously there’s a lot of people on our schedule that are very, very good football teams. So we can’t just point to Alabama, but they are the benchmark on the stand that the head coach at LSU must beat Alabama. I think the way to beat Alabama is to recruit on their level. They are recruiting at a high level now, and they do a great job of evaluation. And coach, coach your team very well, and get your team ready to play. Again, last year, we weren’t that far off.”
His point to the talent level is true. Alabama had four players drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, LSU had three. Alabama had a total of 10 players drafted. LSU had eight.
Guice said he’s not worried about the losing streak to Alabama at the moment.
“I don’t know where everyone else’s head is against Alabama,” he said. “Like I said earlier, we have to take it one game at a time. We’ll worry about Alabama when we get there. Right now we have to worry about BYU. They’re not a sleeper team. They’re well coached and we can’t just surpass them and worry about Florida and Alabama. We’ve got to take it one game at a time.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.