When Lache Seastrunk transferred from Oregon to Baylor, closer to his hometown of Temple, plenty thought he’d redshirt in 2011 and then sprint out of the Bears backfield for three seasons. Thus far, it hasn’t worked that way.
The former 5-star running back carried once in a win over Sam Houston Saturday, the lone touch a 15-yard score. In the opener against Southern Methodist, 39 yards of production occurred on 3 carries. That’s probably not the type of totals Seastrunk and Bears fans envisioned approaching the third game of 2012.
Senior Jarred Salubi (30 carries, 174 yards, 5.8 YPC) and junior Glasco Martin (19 carries, 84 yards, 4.4 YPC) run first and second on the depth chart with Art Briles’ spread offense utilizing the legs of quarterback Nick Florence (12 carries, 104 yards, 8.7 YPC) as well.
Is there a discipline issue? If so, it isn’t public. There’s been some Twitter conversation about getting more carries from Seastrunk but nothing shocking from a star player in the social media era. Is it a pass protection problem? One of the mainstays of youthful running backs, be it college transfers or incoming freshmen, is mastering blitz responsibilities. Every prospect with 4.45 speed can house a jet sweep. Are they as capable of delivering a timely block on third down so the quarterback isn’t decapitated?
Seastrunk’s almost guaranteed to become a larger part of the offense at some point because he simply possesses more talent than most on the Baylor squad. It’s not an indictment of his teammates but a fact that made him so highly pursued as a high school senior. That doesn’t change the idea that he’s more widely-known for his Will Lyles-Oregon-Chip Kelly connection than for any memorable play between the sidelines.
The core of the issue might require a hat tip to Briles. He’s placed a former 5-star third on his depth chart because he’s won and he’s got the leash in Waco to be patient. If it was 2007 Guy Morriss with Seastrunk on his roster, I’d bet heavily that the Oregon transfer starts early, blitz pickups be damned. Instead, Briles realizes he’s not dealing with a Heisman winner under center and employing players who understand his system gives him the best shot at victories. That’s more important than desperately inserting a familiar name in the region.
Should Baylor struggle in the first half against Louisiana-Monroe like it did against Sam Houston, expect Seastrunk’s use to magnify. His time and touchdowns are coming, I just wonder whether it happens before the NCAA rules on his former school.