Last season, Alfred Blue was towards the bottom of the LSU Tigers depth chart at RB and finished third on the team in carries and yards. Headed into fall practice, he was still number three on the depth chart.
But with minor injuries to juniors Michael Ford and Spencer Ware, Blue has done his part to get himself noticed with the Tigers coaching staff. Blue has been the team’s leading rusher in the teams past two scrimmages, accounting for 176 yards on 19 carries while adding two TDs. Blue has been splitting time with sophomore Kenny Hilliard and freshman Jeremy Hill while Ford and Ware have been out.
“I wanted to prove a point and get stronger in the offseason and get more explosive,” Blue said. “I knew there was an opportunity of the starting spot so I put it in my mind I wanted to be that guy. When I was doing conditioning runs or lifting weight it was always on my mind…I’ve improved a lot as a pass blocker. In practice I take those drills serious. Running comes natural to me, so when it comes to pass protection I make it an emphasis that I’m the guy they can rely on.”
Blue, the 6’2″ 220 lbs RB from Boutte, La., had an up-and-down 2011. Even though he finished third on the team in yards, he was the team leader in yards per carry with 6.9.
The season started off slow. He followed a one carry performance against Oregon, with a 15 carry 53 yard game in a blowout win against Northwestern St. In the next two weeks, he only accounted for two carries for 21 yards and a TD. Things got better on the field as Blue led the Tigers with 72 yards rushing and a TD in a win against Kentucky, and then only four days after his family house burned down, Blue totaled 70 yards rushing and a TD in a win over Florida.
Then, just like any other RB in a school with a RB by committee approach, Blue sat and watched for the next three weeks while other Tiger RBs had their moments.
“Sometimes I wish we didn’t have so many great backs,” Blue said. “Sometimes you want more reps, but at the same time it’s a competition that just makes you better because the competition around here is every day – non-stop.”
After having his best performance against Western Kentucky, Blue injured his hamstring against Ole Miss and never really got back to where he was. After becoming somewhat of an afterthought towards the end of the season and in spring, Blue sought out to change things. He added some muscle and looks significantly bigger and stronger.
“I think I’m a complete back, power speed, in between tackles or outside,” Blue said. “I made it a point to show up as the guy they are overlooking and that I was going to do something special.”
Les Miles and the coaching staff aren’t the only ones impressed with what Blue has done this fall. OG and roommate La’El Collins has also taken notice.
“I think he’s going to be the surprise running back this year,” Collins said. “He’s got good speed and good vision, all he needs is a little bit of scenery and he can go. If you underestimate him, he’ll hit you dead in the mouth.”
Ford and Ware will be back and Blue will have to fight for his carries. But, if this fall has shown us anything, he’s more than capable of grabbing the number one RB job by the reins and taking off with it if given the opportunity.
Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports
Follow him on Twitter @JeremyCabler.