Blue makes mark with and without the ball

Tigers sophomore backup running back has carved a place as a special teams ace this season with 10 tackles and is coming off his most productive offensive day with 72 yards and a touchdown

Like a lot of running backs, LSU sophomore Alfred Blue has a goal set he aims for every week.


His ambitions might be a tad different than most of his flashy skill-position peers, though.


Sure, Blue doesn’t mind carrying the ball whenever he gets the chance. And it’s becoming more helpful for the Tigers whenever he gets more touches there – evidenced by his 72-yard performance against Kentucky last week.


But whether Blue gets the ball in his hands or not, his goals are simple: Get on the field and hit somebody.


Seems to be working so far.


Besides Blue’s contributions in the backfield (34-148 rushing, 3 TDs), he has also stepped in as the most recent special teams demon out of the backfield with 10 tackles in the kicking game.


And with LSU utilizing a scheme more geared to play-action passing, Blue is also valuable as a blocker in the backfield.


There have been rumblings in the past that the LSU coaches might move the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Blue to linebacker.


His response? Whatever it takes to get on the field.


“It crossed my mind, but it doesn’t matter where I’m at,” Blue said. He occasionally played safety at Hahnville High. “I’m a playmaker. No matter if I’m on offense defense or special teams. Anywhere I’m on the field I’m going to make a play.”


Which explains why Blue has evolved into a maniac on special teams.


Most of his work comes on the kickoff coverage team where he’s able to use his speed and nose for the ball to prevent return men from gaining momentum.


Turns out his gusto on kicks benefits him as well.


It makes his a better tailback,” LSU coach Les Miles said, mentioning Blue in the same lofty company as Jacob Hester and Stevan Ridley. “It makes him tougher, more rugged and more capable when he steps in at tailback.”

Alfred Blue: 'Anywhere I'm on the field I'm going to make a play.'


Blue didn’t disagree with his coach in the slightest.


“I think it helps,” he said. “It keeps me on the field, keeps me in the game, keeps me violent. Once I get in the game, I’m ready and keeps me going.”


Yeah, but being on the field is one thing.


The whole sprinting downfield on a mission and seeking out the tackle? That and his tenacity for blocking in the backfield are something a little extra in Blue’s football DNA.


“I’m very physical,” Blue said nonchalantly. “I like the contact.


“I like tackling. I had a dream of playing defense, but I was always a running back  so that’s what I kept playing.”


And now he’s gotten a chance to run more.


With Spencer Ware gimpy with a sore hamstring and Michael Ford in the doghouse after he bobbled a pitch from Jarrett Lee, Blue came on against Kentucky and carried the ball a career-high 16 times.


That work load, on the heels of a late-game touchdown run at West Virginia have helped Blue feel like he’s a more viable mix in the LSU running game.


“I would say it boosted my confidence,” he said. “Putting me out there so many times and getting that many carries gave me a chance to get into a rhythm  and do what I do best.”

Alfred Blue: 'I'm very physical. I like the contact.'


With Blue’s emergence and the introduction of freshman Terrance Magee to the running attack last week, a position that was already blossoming into a strength with Ware and Ford now has even more layers for defenses to contend with.


“It’s hard for a defense to come in and try to game-plan for us because in any situation, if it’s option or speed, you can put in any one us in and we can get the job done,” Blue said.


For Blue to get more of those opportunities, he still has progress to make.


He was the rawest of the wave of running backs who arrived on campus in 2010, although he shined as a senior at Hahnville with 1,695 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns in 2009.


Speed and size certainly aren’t a problem.


Blue doesn’t have the initial burst of Ford, but he has a long stride that allows him to get a nice head of steam when he gets into the open field. And like Ware, Blue isn’t afraid to carve out the gritty yards inside.


Where Blue has to get better is at identifying when holes are available and when they’re not and how to adjust to a different, usually smaller, running lane.


“I think I’m becoming more disciplined and understanding the fronts and stuff and reading the down lineman when I get in and get the pre-snap read of what’s going on and can pick my holes better,” Blue said.


Another promising sign of progress. And as long as Blue is performing the different roles the LSU coaches put him in, he figures to keep getting chances to get better.

NOTE: Blue’s family recently lost its house and all belongings to a fire. LSU has launched a relief fund for the family. Click the link below for more information and to make a donation.

Relief 4 Blue Fund

NOTES: Lonergan stays healthy, adjusts well

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