Holliday one little big man

Trindon Holliday doesn't think of himself as a small guy in a big man's game: His mindset is more that he's a fast guy in a big man's game.

"People always sized me up and told me I might be too small to play major college football,'' Holliday said of his prospects at 5-foot-5, 159-pounds. "But they never measured the size of my heart.''

Or took the speed he brings to a backfield into consideration.

"I think my size scared some major schools off,'' Holliday said, "but Coach (Nick) Saban (then the LSU coach) thought I had potential, and my scholarship was still waiting for me when Coach (Les) Miles took over.''

A world-class relay runner, Holliday has been clocked at 4.27 in the 40-yard dash, 6.27 in the 60-yard dash, was part of the LSU team that won the Penn Relays (39.73), a silver medal in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100-meter dash, and earned the right to represent the U.S. in the 100-meters and 400-meter relay pool in Osaka, Japan – which would have meant passing up the 2007 football season.

No way.

He elected instead to run back kicks and take handoffs for the LSU Tigers instead of sprinting to finish lines and taking batons.

"I thought about my options long before I had to make the decision,'' Holliday said. "I knew I was coming back for this season.''

Which must have been a surprise to Crowton, but who said he did not blanch when he saw this relative squirt trotting out with his offensive behemoths. Size isn't everything, and besides, Crowton had seen Holliday's type before. When he was a young assistant at the University of New Hampshire, one of the backs he had was a 5-foot-5 runner named Barry Baraza, who had similar duties as Holliday, running and returning.

Everything is relative, and the now-defunct Yankee Conference wasn't the SEC, but when Baraza finished his college career he was an All-Yankee Conference back.

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Nobody envisions Holliday as a running back that consistently hits the middle. "We need to get him in space (the open), around the edges. Trindon can really go north and south, or even east and west, then turn north or south. That's where he can do damage.''

And possibly a lot of it.

Holliday may well be the burning fuse to the tinderbox that is the Tiger offense.

A year ago, as a true freshman, Holliday touched the ball just a total of 18 times. He had 13 carries from scrimmage, five kickoff returns, and one punt return. On those 18 touches, he totaled 349 yards and scored two touchdowns – that's a 19.6 per yard average each time he tucked the ball under his arm. He always seemed on the verge of breaking off a long run.

"We're going to find ways to get him the ball,'' Coach Les Miles said. Crowton would like to give Holliday five to 10 touches a game – which is about five to 10 times more than he got in 2006.

The one time that really counted last season was the season-finale against SEC-West champion Arkansas in Little Rock.

When an 80-yard run by Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden put the Razorbacks back in the game at 24-19 with 10 minutes to play. Then the Hogs made a major mistake: they kicked off to Holliday, who returned the kick 92 yards to give LSU a comfortable 31-19 lead – and an eventual 31-26 victory that secured a Top 5 finish and a BCS bowl bid for the Tigers.

"I think that play was the highlight of my life,'' LSU's Little Big Man said, "but I hope there's more to come.''

Marty Mule' can be reached at MJM981@Bellsouth.net

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