Notes: Stampley gets his chance to shine

Senior FB gets 1st touches and 1st TD in 52-3 romp past Ole Miss

Lost in the shuffle of LSU’s 52-3 win over Ole Miss was a moment – three snaps, to be specific – that fullback James Stampley, a former walk-on, will likely never forget.

In 2009, after spending a year at LSU as a student, the Baker High graduate decided to test his talents and try out for the football team.

No colleges recruited Stampley, but he was an All-District center in 2006 and helped lead Baker to a district title and appearance in the state quarterfinals that same year.

If anything, Stampley figured he could lend a hand as an extra body on the scout team.

Then, the plan changed.

 “He showed up here as an offensive guard, and we told him we needed a fullback,” LSU coach Les Miles said Saturday. “He is a very team-oriented player. He said OK, and he learned it.”

Thanks to some shuffle in the fullback depth chart, Stampley became a regular in the lineup, and he spent the last two seasons breaking facemasks and clearing the way for a talented LSU backfield – a behind-the-scenes effort that went largely unnoticed by fans.

With the Tigers up on the Rebels 42-3 and the third quarter nearing its end, Miles decided to give Stampley the spotlight he deserved. After runs from four different backs moved the ball to the Ole Miss 2-yardline, it was Stampley’s time.

Second down: Handoff to Stampley stopped after a1-yard gain.

Third down: Handoff to Stampley stopped short of the goal line.

The Tigers could have brought on Drew Alleman for a chip-shot field goal, but Miles – up by 39 points – went to Stampley one final time.

Result: A spin move and a touchdown –the first time Stampley has crossed the goal line in all of his football days. He and quarterback Jarrett Lee nearly missed connection on the handoff before Stampley twirled to avoid being tackled short.

“On fourth down, I was determined to get into that end zone,” Stampley said. “I wasn’t going to be denied at that point.

 “It definitely felt great. That was unreal for me.”

It was also a first for Miles.

“I’ve never seen a Stampley-spin move, I can tell you that,” he said. “And sometimes, you need three plays to score.”

Stampley’s teammates erupted – arguably the most enthusiastic the group had been the entire night.

“He does a lot of dirty work,” senior offensive lineman Will Blackwell said. “To see him reap the rewards and get a touchdown is cool.”

A new face to the field

LSU sophomore safety Eric Reid came up hobbling in the first quarter, and senior Derrick Bryant stepped in alongside senior Brandon Taylor.

But before long, Miles tested a true freshman for the first time.

 “When one person goes down, we have been able to put somebody else in there and step up,” senior cornerback Ron Brooks said.

Ronald Martin made his college debut Saturday and contributed 3 tackles and a pass breakup.

Ronald Martin, who led White Castle to a Class 1A state championship last season and will walk on to the basketball team once football season ends in January, stepped in and recorded three tackles and broke up a pass.

“Ronald Martin is a guy who was preparing to play,” Miles said. “He made some significant plays. I liked how he defended out there.”

Miles said Martin should see action going forward, and the defensive staff had hoped to get the fresh-faced safety onto the field over the past month.

“He’s a guy that we wanted to have a look at before now,” Miles said.

Taylor said Martin has made major strides in practice, which has helped push Martin ahead of the other defensive backs in his class.

“He has been getting the calls quick and he knows the playbook,” Taylor said. “He’s been in the right spots.”

Bryant added: “He’s going to be a great player in the future.”

Getting healthy?

LSU defensive end Kendrick Adams returned from a minor MCL sprain and recorded three tackles against the Rebels.

That was the good news.

The status of Reid, who never returned to the field after he suffered a quad injury in the first quarter, is still up in the air for Friday’s game against Arkansas.

Eric Reid's status for the Arkansas game is up in the air after he suffered a quad injury

“It was all pre-cautionary, and I think he’s fine,” Miles said. “It would be my guess (that he plays vs. Arkansas).

On Sunday, Reid tweeted about his progress.

“Found out some good news this morning,” he tweeted. “The old quad isn’t as bad as we thought.”

Senior linebacker Karnell Hatcher and sophomore safety Craig Loston both missed the trip because of injury, though Miles seemed optimistic that the pair would be back in the fold this week.

“We think both of those guys will be back and ready to play against Arkansas,” Miles said.

Sophomore running back Alfred Blue injured his hamstring on a 57-yard run in the third quarter and didn’t return, but Miles made no comments about Blue’s status after the game.

A good problem to have

With one of the deepest backfields in the country, LSU continues to reel off big runs with different running backs seemingly every weekend.

On Saturday, six different running backs touched the ball, and quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Zach Mettenberger combined for 51 yards on the ground.

Blue finished with a team-high 74 yards on four touches. Sophomore Spencer Ware carried the ball 10times for 70 yards, and fellow sophomore Mike Ford totaled 50 yards on 5carries. Freshmen Kenny Hilliard and Terrance Magee combined for 105 yards on12 carries.

Ware, Ford, Hilliard and Stampley scored touchdowns.

“(LSU running backs coach) Frank Wilson does a great job in preparing a number of backs; keeping them fresh and getting them on the field,” Miles said.

Blackwell added: “I don’t care who is back there. All of them run hard. They split carries, but they don’t mind. It’s a team game.”

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