LSU Tigers' Ground Game Will be Fine With or Without Jeremy Hill

By Terry Johnson
Crystal Logiudice-USA TODAY Sports

After Jeremy Hill’s indefinite suspension, many fans of the LSU Tigers wrote in to ask about what will happen to the ground game if he’s unable to play this fall. While there’s no disputing that the offense would miss his presence in the lineup, the Bayou Bengals will still field one of the best rushing attacks in the SEC this season.

Make no mistake about it: Hill is the clearly the best running back on the LSU roster. Sure, he started last season as the fifth-string tailback, but he became the go-to guy after a 124-yard, two TD performance against the South Carolina Gamecocks. With four 100-yard efforts in the team’s final seven contests—including 107 against the Alabama Crimson Tide—Hill figured to get the bulk of the carries this fall.

However, don’t expect to see a drop off in production if he is unable to play in 2013. The Tigers have several talented backs that can step in and fill the void.

In fact, with all of the options available, it’s difficult to figure out who would start in Hill’s absence. Alfred Blue won the starting job in fall camp a year ago, and he led the team in rushing before an injury curtailed his season after just three games. Although he’s expected to be back at full strength this fall, he’ll have to fight off Kenny Hilliard, who has three 100-yards games in his two seasons in Baton Rouge, and Terrence Magee, who had an excellent spring.

Whoever totes the rock for the Tigers will have a fine season. After all, the offensive line returns four starters from last year’s squad as well as bruising fullback JC Copeland. These blockers will enjoy even more success in 2013 since defenses won’t be able to load the box thanks to LSU’s much-improved passing attack.

So relax, Tiger fans, the running game will be just fine this year—with or without Hill.

Terry Johnson is a college football writer for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and/or Google+

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