Low Mileage, Runs Good
LSU running back Charles Scott has been impressive in limited action, but he's not one to complain about a lack of playing time
By Jim Kleinpeter
Charles Scott has scored more touchdowns than any other LSU player this season. He has the best rushing average per carry of any of the LSU running backs and leads them in receiving.
And just to show he isn't all selfish about it, he covers kickoffs with the enthusiasm of a kamikaze.
Yet one of the biggest questions from LSU's 43-37 triple-overtime loss to Kentucky last Saturday is why couldn't Scott get on the field in the second half?
Scott rumbled for 91 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but got only two carries the rest of the game, including the last of the game when he was stopped after a yard on fourth-and-2.
LSU Coach Les Miles said it was a defensive adjustment by Kentucky that caused LSU to look away from Scott in the second half.
"In hindsight, would I have liked to have gotten him the ball a couple more times? You betcha," Miles admitted Monday.
Scott, a 5-foot-11, 226-pound sophomore from Saline, has rushed for 208 yards on 28 carries and has been tackled for a loss only once. His six touchdowns lead the team, and he leads LSU running backs with 7.4 yards per carry and eight receptions.
His 28 carries are fourth on the team among the running backs, but he's not one to complain about being used so seldom.
"We have a lot of great guys out there, and it just so happened they called my number," Scott said of his first-half success. "I did what I've been practicing to do all week. In the second half, they were spreading the ball around trying to get it to other people. I don't see anything wrong with that."
Scott got loose for a 55-yard run on his first carry when he powered through two defenders and was knocked out of bounds at the 2-yard line.
"It was a zone play," Scott said. "I was making my reads and everybody was looking for Ryan (Perrilloux) on the option play outside, and there was a gash up the middle."
Scott scored on the next play. Later, he had runs of 17 and 13 yards, the latter for a touchdown.
"Charles has been playing good every time he gets a chance," LSU running back Jacob Hester said. "Earlier in the year he was working on his pass protection, trying to become a more complete back. He did a heck of a job in this last game."
Scott gave LSU a boost in its 34-9 victory against Tulane. He breathed life into a floundering offense with second-half touchdown runs of 35 and 5 yards, and led the team with 53 yards on six carries.
Hard work has been the key for Scott, who lettered as a freshman last season when LSU's supply of available running backs was thin. He's become a more well-rounded player, particularly with his blocking.
"I had to make myself more complete so I could be more comfortable in the game as far as pass blocking and even run blocking," Scott said. "In some qualities as a runner I had to improve, like vision. I was trying to make myself an all-around better player.
"I feel it coming each game even more. It's one thing to go out and practice it but to rep it in a game, that's what really makes you better."
Said Hester: "I don't think anybody on this team has worked as hard as Charles has the last two years. Last year he worked his tail off to learn the offense, and he learned it in two months. This year he worked his tail off to get in position to play. He's making a case for himself to get on the field."
Tigers coaches want Scott on the field, especially on kickoffs. He has eight special-teams tackles, including six solo stops. Twice this season he has made an unassisted tackle on a kickoff one play after scoring a touchdown.
"I love special teams," Scott said. "It's football."
Scott said he will continue to bide his time, though he keeps his helmet on at all times because he never knows when his next carry will be.
"We've got four or five guys who can carry the ball for us" he said. "Sitting on the sidelines the whole game you can't lose focus, find yourself gazing off. You've got to stay in a zone. You never know when coach is going to call you."
Perhaps the calls will come more frequently now.
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Re: Low Mileage, Runs Good
Loves special teams... now that is a football player.
Re: Low Mileage, Runs Good
unselfishness. Gotta love that in a player.
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