BATON ROUGE, La. — At halftime of the BYU game, LSU running back Derrius Guice’s stat line looked as lopsided as one you would see from a high school team with only one playmaker — 20 carries, 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
LSU is no high school team and Guice is certainly not its only playmaker, so it was no surprise that his production consisted of just seven third-quarter carries before he sat out the fourth with the game in hand.
Moving forward, LSU coach Ed Orgeron would like to avoid crossing the threshold of 25 carries in a game if he can.
“I don’t think that you’re going to see Derrius carrying the ball over 25 times or 30 times in a game every game,” Orgeron said. “We don’t want to wear him out.”
The Tigers don’t need to wear Guice out. Darrel Williams demonstrated that he is a more than capable second option, rushing for 92 yards on 16 carries, including a 16-yard run that was the longest gain for an LSU ballcarrier. Clyde Edwards-Helaire also gained 28 hard-charging yards on six carries late in the game.
“I think any time you get over 25, it’s too much,” Orgeron said. “Because we have three or four backs that can run the football.”
Included in that bunch is junior Nick Brossette, who did not get a touch against the Cougars. Brossette missed several practices in camp due to injury before working his way back into the rotation.
When it comes to deciding Guice’s workload, Orgeron said that one thing is certain. It won’t be up for negotiation.
“Hey, he wants 70 [carries],” Orgeron said. “That won’t be a good conversation.”
Orgeron also noted that Guice isn’t on a strict pitch count. If there’s a game the Tigers need him to be a workhorse, they’ll do it. But if it can be avoided this early in the season, as it was in the second half against BYU, the Tigers will take resting Guice as their option every time.
“I’m not saying he’ll never get over 25. There might be a game we need him to get more,” Orgeron said. But we do not want to wear him out… I have all the faith in Clyde. I have all the faith in Darrel. Nick Brossette is coming along. We have a couple guys getting healthy, so we want to rotate our backs. We don’t want him to carry the whole load.”
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