Stepping up

Les Miles challenged his running backs during fall camp and Charles Scott has answered the call. Miles was looking for someone to take over for Jacob Hester and prove that he could be the belle cow now that Hester has moved on to the San Diego Chargers and after two games it looks as if he has found his man.

Scott ran for 102 yards and two scores on only seven carries against North Texas last Saturday to follow up his 160 yard and two touchdown performance against Appalachian State to open the season.


The junior from Jonesboro, La. had only one career 100-yard performance heading into the season but a rigorous summer training regimen has prepared him for the kind of season many expected when he signed with the Tigers back in 2006.


“I think he is seeing the cuts a little bit better. I think he’s had the kind of summer where he is really pointed to having this kind of fall,” said Miles. “I think there’s a mental approach and an awareness that is benefitting him. I don’t know if he’s much stronger or much faster than he’s been, but I think he’s trained himself to expect to see things, and it’s working out for him.”


Scott enters the Auburn contest with 262 yards, which is 201 more than LSU’s second leading rusher in Andrew Hatch, and four touchdowns on only 23 carries.


He is the SEC’s leading rusher at 131 yards a game, and ranks sixth nationally, while his 11.4 yards a carry also tops the league.


It hasn’t taken long for Scott to get going in the Tigers’ first two games as his first carry went for 56 yards against Appalachian State. After getting caught from behind, Scott found the endzone on the next play from eight yards out.     


He got off to a blistering start against North Texas as well making a couple of nice cuts and getting to the sideline but this time there was no catching him and the end result was a 39-yard score.


“I guess they weren’t as fast,” Scott said jokingly.


Having someone step up in the running game has been a big help to LSU’s young quarterbacks as the Tigers are averaging 241 yards on the ground compared to 201 through the air.


“It’s definitely a comfort,” Hatch said. “Having that run game is always good for any quarterback especially with the first couple of games getting those under our belt and getting that experience. Charles has been playing really well and he’s a great player. Hopefully, he’ll keep playing like he has and that will be real helpful for our offense.”


Something else that Scott has done is make life a little easier on offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.


“He’s putting us in some more manageable second and third downs to where we can keep the defense off-balance,” said Hatch. “It makes it a lot easier to call a second or third and short rather than having to pick up big chunks of yards.”


When opposing coaches break down Scott’s film on the year they will find that he has lost only two yards and been stopped for a loss only twice in 23 attempts.


Seven of his rushes have netted three yards or less which means he must be picking up large chunks of real estate to get to his total.


That is exactly the case because 12 of his runs have been for seven yards or more with four of those going for more than 29 yards.


Scott’s teammates knew he was a bruising runner between the tackles but his newfound breakaway threat has been a surprise.


“Yea it’s surprising,” offensive guard Herman Johnson said with a laugh. “The holes were there and he accelerated through them like coach (Larry) Porter tells all of the running backs. When you see a hole, accelerate. He does what he does and he’s looking real good right now.”


The Scott Express hopes to keep on chugging along this weekend when the No. 6 ranked Tigers face the stiff challenge that Auburn’s defense will present.


No. 7 ranked Auburn is yielding only five points a game, which is third in the country, and has allowed only three third down conversions on 46 attempts which is best in the land.


It’s going to be critical for LSU to be able to run the football and take some of the pressure off of LSU’s quarterbacks, who have never taken a snap in an opposing team’s stadium.


To do that, the Tigers will need Scott to bring his A-game.


“I’m just seeing the hole real well and my offensive line is doing a great job blocking,” said Scott. “The real test will come with Auburn.”


The real test will come this Saturday and unlike tests Scott and the Tigers are used to, this one will have more than 80,000 spectators rooting against them.

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