Vincent: "I haven't been there in a while"

Even Justin Vincent will admit that his career has been blessed.

But with that, came some unduly criticism.


"In the 2003 Cinderella season, I walked into a great opportunity and did things well," said Vincent. "Then things did not go my way early in 2004. But, people are always going to talk."


Saturday night's win against Appalachian St also had people talking. But for the first time in recent memory, the talk was complimentary of Vincent.


He rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries and scored a one yard touchdown on the first drive of the second quarter to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead with 11:56 to go in the first half. That touchdown marked the second of the season for Vincent and his 14th on his career. Besides the touchdown, Vincent also carried the load of the offense on that drive, tallying carries of 26 and 20 yards.


"I just wanted to show my teammates and coaches that when you put me in, you don't have to worry about anything," said Vincent. "I will get in there and handle business."


Saturday night was also special because Vincent said that he is glad to contribute and glad to get into the end zone again.


"It felt good," said Vincent. "I haven't been there in a while."


Vincent led the way while Joseph Addai sat out most of the game. He was featured in the first two LSU drives and had 15 yards rushing on three carries. Coach Miles said that it was a precautionary measure to keep Addai on the sidelines.


"Addai is a little nicked," said Miles. "We really could have played him but decided not to. We wanted to rest him."


Miles also said that even with Addai out he did not feel there was any loss of ability.


"We still run the same plays even with the other backs."


Miles said he liked what he saw in Vincent.


"Justin Vincent ran hard tonight," said Miles.


Others agree and say that Vincent has overcome some things that plagued him early in the year and is getting back to his capability.


I think that he has been there for us and been a good player," said Andrew Whitworth. "He had a few miscues early in the year and now has gotten the chance to get in there and establish himself."

Vincent owes these opportunities, in part, to the schedule shakeup that was implemented because of Hurricane Katrina. The North Texas that was originally scheduled for September 3, but was moved to the open date weekend of October 29 after the storm. This gave the Tigers back to back games against North Texas and Appalachian St. Vincent was equally impressive last week against North Texas with 70 yards rushing and one touchdown. These two weeks have seen Vincent get the ball more than in the rest of the season combined. He has added up 159 yards rushing on 28 carries and two touchdowns.


"Appalachian St was a good team. It gave everybody a chance, not just me, to get some more work in and work on some things for next week." said Vincent. "They were a good warmup for next week with some good guys on defense."


There is a trend in Vincent's stats from the year. Against the lesser opponents he rushes well. He chalked up 31 yards on nine carries against Arizona St. In the Vanderbilt game, he ran for 77 yards on 11 carries. And of course, the last two weeks has been impressive.


But, the more alarming fact is the trouble he has had against top SEC teams. Five yards rushing against Tennessee. One yard versus Florida. Three yards against Auburn.


Miles has also noticed the pattern.


"But we still need him to step up and be a guy we can turn to in the absence of Addai."


This week against Alabama will be the biggest game of the year for LSU.  The Bama defense is punishing and will be looking to hurt the Tigers. And it is probable that Addai will not be able to carry the load by himself. Here is where Vincent comes in. If he can keep this sort of play up when he is in for Addai, LSU will have an easier time driving the offense and not lose anything in Addai‘s absence. In Vincent's opinion, that should not be a problem.

"I never lost confidence," said Vincent. "It was just a matter of time until I got the opportunity to show I got it back."

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